Tuesday, June 10, 2014 • 9:05 AM Comments (11)

Casino Decision This Week

posted by Maureen Turner

Friday’s the big day for MGM. That’s when the Mass. Gaming Commission will be in town to announce whether the company will be awarded the sole casino license to be granted in western Mass.

Spoiler alert: It will, at least based on earlier comments made by the MGC’s chairman—not to mention the fact that no other company is in the running, after competitors were eliminated either through anti-casino votes in potential host communities or, in Springfield, through an internal selection process conducted by the Sarno administration.

MGM certainly seems to be counting on a win. After the MGC meeting (to be held at 10 a.m. at the MassMutual Center), the company will hold a thank-you reception for those who supported it during what MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis called, in an announcement of the event, a “fantastic ride.”

“MGM Springfield looks forward to being an integral part of Springfield's renaissance as the thriving urban core of Western Massachusetts,” Mathis added.

Of course, Friday isn’t the only important date for the casino issue. Sometime this month, the Supreme Judicial Court will announce its decision in a case that seeks to have a question on the November statewide ballot asking voters to overturn the law that allowed casinos in the commonwealth in the first place. Last year, backers of the question gathered the required number of signatures to get it on the ballot but were stymied when Attorney General (and 2014 gubernatorial candidate) Martha Coakley ruled that the proposed question was unconstitutional, prompting the legal challenge now before the SJC.

If the question does make the ballot, would voters toss out the casino law? The results of a new poll by Suffolk University suggest they would: according to the poll, which surveyed 800 likely voters, 47 percent do not approve of casinos in Massachusetts, while 37 percent do. That’s a change from earlier polls that showed the majority of voters were pro casino.

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