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Casino Opponents in Massachusetts Consider Their Options

MGM Springfield

By a 20 percent margin, voters in Massachusetts refused to repeal the state’s casino law. The defeat of the ballot question comes as a relief to those bankrolling projects that were approved in three different Massachusetts communities.

It also comes as a bitter disappointment to those opposed to casinos. But Al Cabot, one of the coordinators of the group Repeal the Casino Deal, indicated the campaign is not over. "We have a very active passionate group of individuals who want to help to prevent harm to the people of Massachusetts, and we're going to work in that regard," he said. For now, the group says it will monitor the various casino-related lawsuits and investigations that are ongoing, before the leadership decides its next move.

MGM is wasting little time in getting its casino project in Springfield started. MGM Springfield head Michael Mathis said Tuesday work on the downtown site will start immediately. "We've got a lot of historical buildings that we're renovating," he said, "so I think in terms of visible groundbreaking and heavy equipment, probably in the spring. But you're going to see activity on the site starting tomorrow. And that's when the fun begins, because the people of Springfield will realize that this project is happening."

MGM is scheduled to receive its operating license from the State Gaming Commission Thursday. It says 2,000 construction jobs will be needed, and eventually 3,000 people will be employed when the casino opens.

Harriet Jones is Managing Editor for Connecticut Public Radio, overseeing the coverage of daily stories from our busy newsroom.

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