Both Sides Weigh in on Casino Court Decision
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — A question asking you to repeal the state’s casino law will be on the November election ballot. The State Supreme Judicial Court made that ruling Tuesday.
So what does that mean for MGM Springfield? It means voters statewide will hold the fate of an $800 million development plan for Springfield in their hands. Next month marks one year since Springfield voters took to the polls voting ‘yes’ for that development plan. Earlier this month, the State Gaming Commission agreed it would award MGM its license to go ahead and build a casino. But it was a long process in getting to that point and the question now is, will it all be undone?
“Everywhere I go people ask me, ‘Domenic, when is this going to happen?’” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.
The answer is, not before voters decide whether or not to repeal the state casino law this November. Attorney General Martha Coakley originally said the repeal effort was unconstitutional. The state’s highest court overturned that Tuesday.
“We knew it was a close call. We knew this could be overturned. The SJC has the final call. We knew that they would, so we are happy to move forward to certify the question,” said Coakley.
The heated debate reignited Tuesday night.
“This is not a good idea for Masssachusetts, for Boston, for western Mass, for Springfield,” said one opponent.
“The voters are paying attention. They have the time now to be educated to be informed and I think they will vote against it,” said Steve Abdow, who filed the repeal suit.
“The spin off effects that are generated here with vendors and construction jobs and good paying white collar and blue collar jobs as move forward,” said Sarno.
While those for and against the casino ramp up their campaigns, many who simply have an interest in Springfield’s South End, not the casino itself, are frustrated.
“We need something for the city. This MGM company is just unbelievable. They do it from the heart, They are good people. They would help the community,” said Rico Daniele.
This is a community that originally voted 58-42 in favor of a downtown casino, a community who’s $800 million project now rests in the hands of voters from Belchertown to Boston in November’s statewide vote.
“Why should they have the right to vote on this project and destroy the opportunities and possibilities? It’s not their town. It’s our town. We voted, I think our vote should stand,” said John Tranghese, a lifelong Springfield resident.