SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – In Springfield where MGM hopes to build an $800 million resort casino, people have mixed feelings about the high court’s ruling.
Massachusetts voters now hold the fate of the state gambling law in their hands.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled on Tuesday the casino repeal question can be placed on the November ballot.
A frustrating step backwards for Springfield business owners who want MGM to build a casino in the South End.
According to David Delvecchio, the owner of Union Car Wash, Inc., “I’ve been down here over 30 years, myself, and you know what, nothing good is happening down here. To be frank with you, I wish they were putting shovels in the ground next week.”
Rico Daniele from Mom & Rico’s said “All this should’ve been voted on maybe 5,6,7 or 10 years ago, makes no sense.”
MGM Springfield has already won one referendum. About one year ago, 58% of Springfield voters voted in favor of MGM’s proposal, one of several green lights that ultimately led to MGM winning the western Mass. casino license.
For many casino supporters in the South End, MGM’s plan meant restoring historic buildings and rebuilding those that were damaged by the June 1st tornado back in 2011.
The former Zanetti School on Howard Street remains untouched, and right next to it, windows are still boarded up at the former Springfield State Armory Building.
But not everyone sees the casino as a development opportunity. Some people are actually welcoming the court ruling that could reverse the casino plan.
James Stephenson of Precision Auto Repair told 22News, “I think the City needs to develop a plan around, you know, bringing small businesses in to the town or at least helping the small businesses that are already in the town.”
Carmen Merzigian works in Springfield. She said “It’s going to cause a lot of traffic, especially having to come from Worcester and then have to deal with finding parking, stuff like that, it’s very hard.”
Regardless of their stance on the casino issue, many people agreed, it’s going to be an intense campaign season.
In addition to the gambling law repeal ballot question, voters will elect a new governor and decide several state leadership positions.
Voters head to the polls Tuesday November 4th.