Looming SJC decision to overshadow casino celebration

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – MGM will celebrate a major milestone in Springfield Friday, but it will likely be overshadowed.

This also impacts the South End neighborhood where the casino company wants to build. The South End is in limbo. Part of the neighborhood is still tornado damaged and no one can do much until the state supreme court makes a decision.

MGM will win the western Massachusetts gaming license but won’t get the licence quite yet.

Here’s the two options for when the casino company could start building in Springfield.

“Either the decision by the SJC (Supreme Judicial Court) to not let the repeal deal go on the ballot or if it does go on the ballot it would be effective if the repeal amendment is unsuccessful,” said Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby.

MGM’s plan is to give the South End a complete makeover.  In two plus years after construction this block would be filled with a casino, restaurants, entertainment, retail stores and several different options or it may just stay the same.

“This would spur other business this will help us with some of the areas we’re working on everything from the public safety to improving our housing.  If it didn’t happen it would set us back but we’re not going to give up,” said South End Citizens Council President Leo Florian,

Repeal the casino deal leaders hope it goes on the ballot and gets voter down so casinos are banned in the state.  Casino repeal chairman John Ribeiro sent 22News this statement:

“It’s clear to MGM, Springfield and all of Massachusetts that the real decision rests on a Nov. 4 ballot, when residents across the state ought to have the opportunity to vote on whether or not we want casinos in our Commonwealth,” said John Ribeiro, casino repeal campaign chairman. “This decision affects voters statewide and polls are showing that voters are standing more and more against casinos. The Gaming Commission may approve of the MGM casino after this Soviet-style voting with one applicant but we are confident the people do not and the people’s voices can and should be heard.”

MGM was one of four applicants in western Massachusetts, but the only one to have it’s community approve it. The gaming commission will vote to officially approve MGM’s project Friday morning at ten at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. We should know in less than a month what the Supreme Court Justices decide.

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