06/24/2014 3:36PM

Repeal of Massachusetts casinos allowed on ballot


EAST BOSTON, Mass. – The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled unanimously Tuesday that a referendum to repeal the state’s casino law may appear on the November ballot, further adding to the uncertainty hanging over the racing and breeding industries in New England.

Suffolk Downs, the lone surviving Thoroughbred track in New England, partnered with casino titan Mohegan Sun, which is one of two finalists for the sole casino license to be awarded by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for the greater Boston region. The track’s ownership group has been candid in stating that if Mohegan Sun does not secure the license to develop a proposed $1.3 billion casino on the grounds, it will no longer be economically feasible to continue live racing.

Massachusetts in 2011 legalized an expansion of gambling calling for destination resort casinos in three separate regions of the state and a single slots parlor to be situated anywhere. Since then, public enthusiasm for casinos appears to have waned. A poll by Suffolk University this month found that only 37 percent of voters statewide now approve of casinos.

The campaigns for and against repeal through the November election are expected to draw significant national attention and contributions.

In a statement, Mohegan Sun said, “We believe we have the best plan to bring thousands of jobs, world-class entertainment, local economic development, and increased tourism to the region, and that is our focus right now. We will also join the chorus of others making the case to voters on why this law is good for workers, good for the economy, and good for the commonwealth.”

The gaming commission’s timetable calls for awarding the Boston casino license, which is also being sought by Wynn Resorts, in late August or early September. Gaming commission chairman Stephen Crosby released a statement saying in part that the commissioners have the “flexibility to achieve progress in the licensing and regulatory process even in an atmosphere of uncertainty, and we will continue to do so.”

Sal Carcia More than 1 year ago
This whole casino process is doomed. It will never pass a state-wide referendum in a general election. I don't believe any of the local referendum votes have passed in a general election. The ones that passed where in off elections. In off elections only the interested voters show up. It was easier for the casino to rally their supporters. In general elections, it is easier for the uninformed voter to vote against something. Also, it is very easy to scare voters about the ills of casinos. Goodbye Suffolk Downs!
Leslie Burke Fernandes More than 1 year ago
what rank and file means is that's how it got back on the ballot in the first place
Mark Howell More than 1 year ago
this drf+ aspect is just ridiculous and should absolutely be stop at once to enjoy real thoroughbred racing and not just for profit as always
Leslie Burke Fernandes More than 1 year ago
the state will $^&^&%^ this up, the palms need to be greased but watch out because the ones that don't get greased (east boston and boston and believe or not east boston now has got left out. tom menino and friends will stick it to revere 'cause that's what they do
Frank Raspy More than 1 year ago
2 points: a) Menino is now retired, there is a new maya. b) this will now be put to a popular vote in November. So you were 0-2 on that post, next.
Leslie Burke Fernandes More than 1 year ago
you don't know anything about anything his cronies are now in charge it will be put to a vote all rank and file thank you or heads will roll and if you don't vote with me you won't get the money you want for your pet projects. THATS HOW IT WORKS!