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Casino Interests Vastly Outspend Opponents Seeking Law Repeal In Massachusetts

Lopsidedness On Question 3 Was Greater Than 21-1


The battle over casinos in Massachusetts was not a fair fight if you look at the money, regardless of where you stand on the issue or the casino industry in general.

According to the Associated Press, pro-casino interests spent nearly $14 million to convince voters to reject Question 3, which aimed to repeal the 2011 law that authorized three Las Vegas-style casinos and one slots-only parlor in the Bay State. Three licenses have already been awarded for those projects.

Opponents of the casinos spent $650,000.

Casino interests helped create one of the most expensive ballot questions in the state’s history. The nearly $14 million was also a record for spending on one side of a ballot question there.

From the report:

Campaign filings submitted this week show more than half of that [$14 million]—$7.6 million—came in the days leading up to the Nov. 4 election, thanks to major contributions from the state’s three licensed casino operators: Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming.

The casino repeal effort lost by a 20-point margin.

Casino supporters hammered home the job creation argument, while opponents gave the usual warnings about increases in addiction and other social costs associated with casinos. You could say that the job creation point won out—if the spending wasn’t so lopsided.