Poll: Casino repeal effort behind statewide, but not in WMass

Repeal effort trails in all demographic groups, except WMass residents

Artistic rendering of the proposed MGM Springfield casino.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts voters are leaning against a repeal of the state’s 2011 law legalizing casinos, but residents of western Massachusetts may feel a bit differently. The Western New England University poll released Wednesday found that 52% of likely voters say they expect to vote “No” on Question 3, with 41% saying that they expect to vote “Yes.”

The survey found that the repeal effort was behind among Democrats, Republicans, and unenrolled voters, and with some variations in margins, the “No” side led across all age groups, income levels, and education levels. There was also no gender gap, with men and women both opposing repeal by a 10-point margin.

The only demographic group in which repeal drew more support than opposition was here in western Massachusetts (casino Region B), where 50% of voters said they were likely to vote “Yes” and 45% saying they were likely to vote “No.” Support for the existing law was strongest in Region C, which includes southeastern Massachusetts, where repeal was opposed by 24 points. In Region A, which includes the Greater Boston area and central Massachusetts, there was a 11 point difference favoring “No.”

Al Cabot of Repeal the Casino Deal told 22News, “The economic and jobs opponents our opponents are making are pretty ridiculous to be honest. If money flows out of the state into these foreign corporations, jobs are not going to turn around and flow in the opposite direction.”

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has issued licenses to MGM, which wants to operate a casino in Springfield, as well as Wynn Resorts International, which seeks to build a casino in Everett. A license for Region C has yet to be issued, while the license for the state’s only slots parlor has been given to Penn National, which has begun construction of their planned facility in Plainville, despite the upcoming vote.

MGM Springfield Spokeswoman Carole Brennan sent 22News the following statement: 

“For months MGM Springfield has been engaged in a daily, fact-based, educational campaign about the benefits of the Gaming Act, namely thousands of jobs and billions in economic development. Like nearly all of the polls we have seen on this issue, this one shows that Massachusetts residents understand the enormous job and economic benefits that this industry will bring to the Commonwealth. That’s why voters continue to support the Gaming Law and why they will Vote No on Question 3 to defeat the repeal effort.”

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