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Ballot Question 3: Ban Casinos In Massachusetts?

BOSTON (CBS) - Massachusetts voters will have the chance to give a thumbs up or down on casinos in the Commonwealth on November 4.

Ballot Question 3 is called "The Affordable Casino Repeal Initiative" and residents should understand that "yes" means "no," and "no" means "yes."

So, a "yes" vote means no casinos, and a "no" vote means casinos will be built.

"We'd like to say no in order to overturn the legislation. For us, it means revitalization of a desolate area," Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

He sees the Wynn Casino proposal as a developmental godsend, because Wynn will come up with the millions of dollars needed to clean up the former Monsanto chemical company site, and then build a $1.5 billion resort casino that could create more than four-thousand jobs.

Wynn Casino Everett
An artist rendering of the proposed Wynn Casino in Everett. (WBZ-TV)

"Right now, we're inundated with underutilized parcels of land, contaminated properties, no access to public transportation to our residents, so this one development could be transformational for the community of Everett," DeMaria told WBZ.

And the Mayor of Springfield said the same thing about an MGM casino that would fill around sixteen acres of land in downtown Springfield.

The municipal officials, trade unions, and a lot of Massachusetts gamblers who now drive to Rhode Island will vote "no" on Question 3.

But John Ribero, Chairman of Repeal The Casino Deal, argues there are plenty of reasons to vote "yes."

"Even the law looks at and asks for a study on what's going to happen to families, to problem gambling, and to businesses in the area. So they know that this is coming, they just expect that this is going to happen and that these families are expendable," he said.

"You see it everywhere at casino sites around the country; it's just something that's not acceptable for Massachusetts."

He thinks the social costs of a casino outweigh the financial benefits, and he's not so sure about those financial benefits, or about the jobs.

"Those job numbers have always been inflated. We've seen right now that the governor had talked about bringing 50,000 jobs to Massachusetts back in 2008. They've already lost about 80 percent of those jobs, so they're talking about 10,000 jobs now and even those numbers are inflated," Ribero told WBZ.

Plainville Slots Parlor
A rendering of the proposed Plainville slots parlor complex. (Image courtesy: Plainridge Racecourse-Facebook)

Construction and development has not yet begun in Everett or Springfield, but at the Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, developers are well underway building a quarter billion dollar slots parlor.

They're betting that voters will say "no" to Question 3 which would mean a big "yes" to them.

To read more about Question 3, visit the state elections website.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens reports


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