Saturday, January 25, 2014

Update from the NoCasino Springfield Group

On Thursday we learned that the Mass Gaming Commission voted to say that MGM is suitable to apply for a casino license in Springfield.  What you won't hear on the news is that (1) the suitability is revokable at any time, (2) that the commission has the option to not award a license, and (3) that the Repeal the Casino Deal effort may be able to keep casinos out of the Massachusetts by the popular will of the people.

So here's a timeline of what is upcoming, and what we're working on for the upcoming months.

The Mass Gaming Commission issued the following proposed timeline (see Mass Gaming Commission timetable for full details):

Application Deadline: December 31st
Deadline for towns to submit to be considered surrounding communities: Jan 10th
Decision to be made on which towns are surrounding communities: February 6th
Arbitration process if surrounding community agreements are not reached: March 10th-April 14th
Gaming Commission Hearing in Springfield to hear from the people: mid-late April
License awarded: May 30th

We are going to invite a member of the gaming commission to a local forum for late January/early February so they can hear from us why we think the MGC should not award a license in Springfield.  We'll let you know when we finalize a date.

We also are preparing to have as many speakers and a large of a presence as possible at the Springfield MGC hearing in April.  They need to hear that the people don't want a casino here.

Most importantly, we are continuing to work with Repeal the Casino Deal, in hope of allowing a vote in November.  New York, Rhode Island, Nebraska, Maryland, and New Jersey all let their citizens decide whether to allow casinos in their state.  Why should we be deprived of that voice?  The State's highest court will hear the case sometime between January and April, and will hopefully allow the question on the November ballot.  This is our best chance to keeping Springfield, and the entire state casino-free.  We'll of course keep you posted as events unfold.

For those of you in West Springfield and Longmeadow, MGM is trying hard to make Longmeadow and West Springfield look unreasonable just because the other towns took deals that do not protect their citizens.  When you hear MGM say that Longmeadow is asking for 5 times what other communities took, remember that Longmeadow commissioned the studies that told them what kind of impacts are to be expected  - it's not that Longmeadow is asking for 5 times more that what it will cost, it's that the other towns settled for 5 times less than it will cost them.

Keep in mind that towns surrounding Foxwoods/Mohegan in CT get nearly a million dollars/year and they tell us that it's not nearly enough to cover the negative impacts casinos inflict on the towns.  So be sure tell your Selectmen/City Councilors not to be bullied by MGM, but to stand up for the citizens.

submitted by the NoCasino Springfield group