SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The future of casinos in Massachusetts is in question after the state’s highest court ruled that a question calling for repeal of the 2011 law can be on the November ballot.
MGM Springfield had been preparing to break ground. Now they will have to wait, so will millions of dollars the state has already budgeted for.
“Billions of dollars have been going out of Massachusetts into Connecticut and into Rhode Island,” said Springfield’s Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy.
Those dollars will continue to flow out of Massachusetts, as this court decision is another delay and possibly a dagger in the Commonwealth’s casino process. Massachusetts budget makers had banked on hundreds of millions of casino dollars already.
“Half a billion dollars in the Commonwealth’s coffers. That’s a lot of good things they can do across the state. Now do they have to relook at their budget, now do they have to look at cutting beneficial programs if they money’s not there. My budget is sound this year,” said Springfield mayor Domenic Sarno.
MGM was ready to put shovels in the ground here in Springfield’s South End this summer. Now it’s going to have to wait until at least November.
MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis sent 22News this statement: “MGM Resorts has spent three years collaborating and talking with the people of Western Massachusetts on the value of a casino resort as a unique economic development catalyst. We are confident that our urban revitalization project in Springfield, one of the Commonwealth’s most prominent Gateway Cities, is something to which all Massachusetts voters can relate. It is a comeback story in progress with hard-working people eager to grow jobs and get back to work. We are fully prepared to extend this message to a larger audience through a statewide campaign to educate the voters on the enormous economic benefits that would be lost to the taxpayers of the Commonwealth in a repeal.”
Kennedy told 22News Springfield will survive either way, but this puts the cities South End neighborhood in another holding pattern.
“We’re going ahead with Union Station, we’re going ahead with Indian Motorcycle the list goes on and on and on. While at the same time I don’t want to downgrade the fact that we would love to be building on those 15 acres in the South End right now,” said Kennedy.
Election Day is Tuesday November 4th.