Candidates take sides on casino issue

Voters to vote on the statewide casino referendum Nov. 4th

Artistic rendering of the proposed MGM Springfield casino.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield voters said “Yes” to a casino, and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission made some decisions. MGM has already won a license to build a casino in Springfield, Penn National started construction in Plainville, and the Gaming Commission continues to evaluate the possible Boston-area license.

However, now the fate of Massachusetts casinos hinges on a statewide ballot question that could repeal the gambling law. The issue has divided voters as well as the people running for state office.

At the Sheriff Ashe Annual Clambake, 22News spoke with two of the three candidates running for Attorney General: Maura Healey and Warren Tolman.

Healey told 22News, “That’s the difference in this race. I oppose casinos. My opponent supports casinos. Casinos are leading to foreclosures and bankruptcies, job layoffs in some instances.”

Tolman told 22News, “Against the repeal. So I’m going to vote for casinos. But wherever people stand, if we do have casinos, I’m going to take backseat to no one. That’s where the regulation will be paramount.”

22News also spoke with Republican Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker. He said, “I do support the MGM proposal. (Why?) I think it’s imaginative. I’ve actually walked the site, the part of Springfield that’s in, it’ll benefit from that. With a lot of outdoor shops and activities for people, that’s really unusual.”

Democratic candidates Steve Grossman and Don Berwick had left the Clambake by the time 22News arrived. Martha Coakley did not attend.

On Election Day, November 4th, a “Yes” vote on Question 3 will repeal the gambling law. A “No” vote will keep the casinos.

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