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Casino Repeal Effort Shot Down In Massachusetts

Question 3 Loses By 60-40 Margin With 97 Percent Of Votes Counted

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High-stakes bets by casino firms eyeing projects in New England have paid off.

On Tuesday, voters in Massachusetts upheld the 2011 casino law that authorized three Las Vegas-style casinos and one slots-only parlor in the Bay State.

According to The Boston Globe, the effort to repeal the three-year-old law, Question 3, was shot down by a 60-40 margin with 97 percent of the votes counted on Tuesday evening.

A casino poker room is finally coming to the Boston area.

The results are a sigh of relief for Las Vegas-based casino developers MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts, both of whom want to build casinos in Springfield and Everett, respectively. Penn National got the nod for the slots parlor, which will be in Plainville.

The slots parlor could open in June, while the other two projects are years away. Penn National felt so confident that the repeal effort would lose that it began construction months ago.

“We’re just so grateful to the voters for a chance to bring this project to fruition,” Eric Schippers, a Penn senior VP, told The Globe. “There was a lot on the line for us.”

A third license has not yet been awarded, but could come next year.

According to the report, opponents of the casinos said that the money spent by casino interests this election cycle was the reason why the repeal effort lost at the polls.

From The Globe:

Defenders of the casino law, backed by millions of dollars in contributions from casino companies, ran a tightly focused campaign this fall that included thousands of television ads highlighting the jobs the casino industry promises to create in Massachusetts. Casino opponents, in turn, offered a buffet of reasons to vote for repeal, saying the gambling industry would take customers from small businesses, and increase gambling addiction, traffic, and crime. Opponents, however, lacked a rich corporate patron that could substantially fund the campaign, and did not raise enough money from small donors to finance a competitive media effort.

There had been some successful resistance to casinos at the local level, but getting people to oppose the developments at the statewide level proved to be a losing bet.