Massachusetts has clearly stated their mind on the matter of granting an additional slot license, as they voted 61% – 39% against the proposal. The referendum took place on Tuesday, November 8 and the majority of voters in Massachusetts said no to Question 1 on their ballots. It seems that there will be no changes in The Massachusetts Expanded Gaming Act of 2011, which allows three casinos and one slot-parlor within the state.
This is clearly not good news for Massachusetts slot enthusiasts, although they can still enjoy playing real money slots online using desktops, smartphones or tablets.
Who was behind the proposal?
The current Gaming Act allows three licenses for casino resorts and only one Category 2 license for a slot gaming establishment which was given to Penn National Gaming for Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville. Question 1 referred to issuing an additional license for operating a slots facility which could house a maximum of 1,250 slot machines. The question was raised by a real-estate developer who came from Thailand, Eugene McCain. According to an interview in Boston Globe, McCain lived and worked in Thailand when he decided to return to US for the sake of the education of his children. Currently he is making arrangements to “buy properties around Suffolk Downs” with plans to build a casino.
The proposal to amend the existing Gaming Act implies that in order to obtain the second slot license the property would have to meet certain requirements including the minimum surface of 4 acres and being “adjacent to and within 1,500 feet of a race track”. The mentioned property in Revere near Suffolk Down meets all of these requirements which made the public doubt the real intentions behind advocating for Question 1.
The supporters of McCain’s campaign argued that an additional slots parlor would create over a thousand new workplaces and also bank over $80 million of annual revenue to the State of Massachusetts.
The Opponents’ Arguments Were Stronger
From the very start Question 1 faced opposing currents, starting from the Revere where voters rejected the proposal a month earlier. Mayor Brian Arrigo did not hide his satisfaction with the decision of his residents commenting that “Revere residents know how to separate a good idea from a bad idea.”
The people who voted against even expressed their discontent because the process of the raising the ballot question was abused. It is a firm belief that this proposal was made with the aim to enable the developer to achieve his plan, which was seen as an offense to the people who consider that the referendum process should be used to decide on vital issues in the state.
Perhaps one of the biggest opponents to Question 1 was Steve Wynn, since the new slots parlor would pose a competition to his Wynn Boston Harbor in Everett, Massachusetts. The casino mogul supported the “No to 1” campaign financially while it was reported that he also contributed to Revere campaign with $39,000.
Another major argument against the additional slot license was the ongoing concern that the gambling market is in danger of being saturated and that the promises of new jobs and revenues are simply not convincible any more.
Finally, Question 1 was rejected, as 61 percent of the voters declared to be against adding another slots parlor, while 31 percent voted in favor of the proposal.