Repeal question possibility complicates the casino process in WMass

Artist's rendering of the proposed MGM Springfield casino, including the now-abandoned plan for a 25-story glass tower on State Street. The elimination of the glass tower is part of what the city council has to vote on.
Artist's rendering of the proposed MGM Springfield casino, including the now-abandoned plan for a 25-story glass tower on State Street. The elimination of the glass tower is part of what the city council has to vote on.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will vote Friday on MGM’s casino proposal, but even if MGM gets the license, another obstacle may block them from building a gambling resort.

One last hurdle in the licensing process. The Gaming Commission will spend this week, evaluating MGM Springfield’s proposal for the city’s South End.

MGM has plans to to turn this plot of land between State and Union Streets in Springfield’s South End into an $800 million resort casino. The majority of Springfield voters already said “yes” to that plan.

If the Gaming Commission also votes “yes,” MGM could have the state’s first resort casino license on Friday, but the casino process might stay stalled until July, or even November.

If the Supreme Judicial Court allows the ballot question next month, voters could repeal the state gambling law in November.

Casino opponent Nathan Bech told 22News, “I think 100% of voters should have a chance to vote on this. Casinos have the effect of draining all the money from the local economy and have the effect of small businesses shutting the doors because the money that people could be spending on a new pair of shoes, a new refrigerator or a new car has now gone to the casino.”

However, some South End business owners said they want MGM to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Springfield.

Rico Daniele who owns Mom & Rico’s on Main Street said, ‘I wish them a lot of luck where they want to do a lot more for the kids in schools, more for these parks, more community things. We need more of that. Springfield needs that.”

A new possible complication, a new poll finds nearly half of Massachusetts voters now oppose casino gaming in the state.

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