Local casino supporters and opponents ready for a statewide battle

Voters could repeal the gambling law

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) – Casino developers and supporters will have to wait more than four months to find out if they can continue the casino process here in Massachusetts.

MGM Springfield and casino supporters will have to clear another hurdle, a state-wide referendum election if they want an $800 million resort casino in Springfield’s South End. The same goes for developers in the eastern part of the state.

MGM and other casino developers hoping to build in Massachusetts will say their plans will bring jobs and economic growth. Casino opponents will argue problems associated with gambling will outweigh all the benefits.

A unanimous decision by the Supreme Judicial Court will allow the casino repeal question to be placed on the November ballot. That means Massachusetts voters will now decide the fate of all casino plans in the state.

However, with a casino license in hand, MGM continues to move forward in some areas. On Wednesday, MGM met with local business owners who could be the casino’s vendors and suppliers.

MGM Vice President of Global Procurement Mark Stolarczyk told 22News “We are still very optimistic that come November we’ll get the votes. We still have to identify the supply base that’s out in the community and continue to have dialogue with them. So once we’re ready to open, we know who we are going to be doing business with.”

On the other side of the casino issue, opponents have plans to expand their door-to-door campaign.

Al Cabot from Repeal the Casino Deal said “I collected hundreds, literally thousands, of signatures from people in the Greater Springfield area. So I think everybody understands now that the problem may occur at the casino, but it travels with the gambler back to their home town.”

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