Massachusetts Pro-Casino Referendum Takes the Day

Massachusetts Pro-Casino Referendum Takes the Day

Ah, sweet victory: Steve Wynn’s Everett, Massachusetts casino can finally move ahead following a referendum vote supporting casinos passed away last night.

Residents of Massachusetts have opted for to uphold the state’s three-year-old casino law, voting overwhelmingly in yesterday’s midterms in favor of maintaining the fledgling casino market, because the polls had predicted.

Somewhat confusingly, ‘no’ meant ‘yes’ for casinos on this ballot, as voters were asked perhaps the legislation must be repealed, with 59.5 per cent to 40.5 percent deciding that no, it should not be repealed, meaning that yes, they wanted casinos.

Some commentators have suggested that the language used in posing the question was deliberately muddled and designed to confuse.

However, it’s a victory for MGM and Wynn Resorts, who have had their respective projects provided the greenlight by regulators and who can now finally and definitely go forward with the licensing procedure, a privilege which is why they will fork out $85 million a piece before a cornerstone that is single set.

Not surprisingly, casino executives were jubilant and anxious to emphasize just what the casinos will do for their future communities.

‘Voters across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts today voiced their support of the 10,000 permanent job opportunities and significant economic benefits supplied by the Gaming Act of 2011,’ said pleased MGM Chairman and CEO Jim Murren. ‘MGM Resorts International want to thank the thousands of volunteers and supporters who understood exactly what was at stake and worked so difficult to bring this historic opportunity to realization for themselves and their neighbors … we are now able to begin the job of rebuilding a great downtown, and igniting a renaissance in Western Massachusetts.’

The Following Big Step

MGM now plans to construct an $800 million casino resort on a 14.5-acre plot in downtown Springfield, with construction most likely to begin into the springtime and a planned opening in the summer of 2017.

Wynn Resorts, meanwhile, which fought a protracted bidding war with Mohegan Sun for the right to make an application for the sole eastern Massachusetts license, the right it absolutely was granted only in early September, will go ahead using its plans to construct a $1.6 billion casino for a contaminated former chemical plant in Everett, north of Boston. Wynn will pay millions to have the site cleaned up and decontaminated before construction ensues.

‘it,’ said Wynn Resorts Senior Vice President Robert DeSalvio while it has been a long process, the benefits to everyone in the Commonwealth will be worth.

Never in Doubt?

The third license was secured earlier in the year by Penn National Gaming, which quickly moved ahead with its intends to expand Plainridge Park harness racetrack as a slots parlor, despite knowing there was a chance that the bill could be repealed.

‘It’s a risk, but it’s a risk that is calculated’ said Jay Snowden, Penn National’s chief operating officer, several months back. ‘We’re confident we’ll prevail in november’

And he was right, however the presssing issue ended up being perhaps never really in doubt. While the Repeal the Deal contingent was vocal, it lacked the funding of its powerful opponents, and the vote that is pro-casino led regularly in the polls.

Based on recent campaign finance reports, ‘no’ (meaning yes) vote campaigners had raised nearly $12 million, most of it donated by casino businesses, while the ‘yes’ meaning no vote was in a position to raise simply $675,000.

MGM donated $2.5 million and Wynn Resorts $1 million, while Penn National topped the bill with $3.2 million. This had been the explanation that the pro-casino effort ended up being in a position to spend $2 million on casino marketing in October alone, at a period when its opponents had been a declaring a balance of $30,000 and debts of $400,000.

Nationwide Election Results May Affect US Online Gambling

Supporters of a Wynn casino in Everett celebrated the beat of a casino repeal effort in Massachusetts. (Image: Barry Chin/Globe Staff)

Election Day 2014 didn’t feature a referendum on Internet gambling, nor did anything earth-shattering occur that will forever change the gaming landscape in the United States.

Still, there were number of local results that were of interest to those who care about gambling problems, and one overarching storyline which could contour the motion for the debate over online gambling for the following two years.

That story that is big as you may have guessed, had been the Republican takeover of the Senate.

While results (including a runoff election and a decision by Independent Senator Angus King on which party to caucus with) won’t be known for some time, the GOP has clinched at least 52 seats within the Senate, one a lot more than was needed in order to just take the majority.

Republican Majority and On Line Poker

The Republican majorities in both houses are worth keeping an eye on while this shouldn’t incite panic among those who enjoy online gambling. Thanks to a plank within the national platform that is republican the support of Las vegas, nevada Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson, the absolute most vocal voices opposed to online gambling tend in the future from the GOP. The new majority could lead supporters of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act to attempt to advance the bill in Congress.

However, the chances of such a bill passing are still rather slim. Not everyone in the Republican Party is in favor of an online gambling ban, and even a lot of those which are cannot think the issue is worth fighting over, as it really is hardly a significant consideration one of the public that is general. While those in favor of a ban could probably court sufficient Democratic support to offset the losses inside their own party, that’s far from particular, and the prospect of a split within the GOP regarding the issue could be enough to end it from ever gaining any energy.

Massachusetts Casino Repeal Defeated Handily

Much more results that are local there were two ballot initiatives of interest to the gaming industry, one on each coast. On the East Coast, perhaps the highest-profile gambling battle of the 12 months occurred in Massachusetts, where anti-casino activists were hoping to repeal a law that allowed for the licensing and building of three resort casinos in their state, along with a slots parlor. As present polling suggested, the anti-casino forces came up well short, with 59 percent voting ‘No’ on the repeal.

Still, state officials acknowledged that the significant part of the populace that was against their efforts had made their voices heard.

‘ We realize that approximately 41 percent voted in favor of the ballot initiative [meaning for the repeal], and it is our job to continue to earn the confidence of all the social people in Massachusetts proponents and opponents alike,’ said Steve Crosby, chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

Meanwhile, voters in California rejected Proposition 48, a measure that will have allowed the North Fork Rancheria Band of Mono Indians to create a casino that is major 40 miles away from their reservation. Had the proposition passed, opponents said it might have set a precedent tribes that are allowing build gaming facilities far beyond their lands.

‘This vote no puts the ball squarely in the state Legislature’s court: they now can make a constant policy on tribal video gaming,’ said Cheryl Schmit, director of Stand Up for California, a group opposing the proposition.

Some gubernatorial races may also have an impact on the future of both land-based and online gambling in various states. Perhaps many notably, the re-election of Florida governor Rick Scott in a tight battle over Democratic challenger Charlie Crist was viewed as a bad sign for on line gambling within the state, as Scott has become a supporter of Adelson’s efforts to ban online gambling.

Chukchansi Gold Casino Tribal Leaders Turn Themselves In After Break-In

Tex McDonald, leader of the group that stormed the Chukchansi casino last month, turns himself in. (Image:

Two council that is tribal charged with serious offenses relating to last month’s armed standoff during the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino near Coarsegold, California have turned themselves in. The casino ended up being stormed by 20 armed men on October 9, the culmination of a bizarre power struggle between competing factions vying for control of the casino.

No arrests had been made at the scene, as the siege happened on tribal land, but Madera County District Attorney Michael Keitz announced last Friday that 15 of the aggressors would be charged with severe felonies, including kidnapping, false imprisonment, assault having a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon, and battery inflicting serious injury.

The team’s leader, Tex McDonald, 64, and fellow council member Vernon James King, 59, switched themselves in on Monday, observed several hours later on by two members for the security force that accompanied the group on the raid.

McDonald, who has past beliefs for assault with a deadly weapon and making criminal threats, is charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, attack with a firearm, attack with a life-threatening weapon, battery causing serious injury, and attack with a stun gun, and his bail has been set at $1 million. The other people face similar fees, with bail set at $800,000 for each.

Another safety guard was arrested Sunday, but at the time of writing, 10 people remain at large.

Disenrollment Controversy

The origin of the dispute among the Picayune Ranchera of Chukchansi Indians seems to connect to the controversial practice of ‘disenrollment,’ where a tribe strips certain members of their tribal status, thus denying them the associated advantages, in this situation profit from the casino.

Since 2003, hundreds of users have been stripped of their tribal affiliations, including a few of the last native speakers of the Chukchansi language. This led to a disputed election in 2012 and a schism in the tribe between those that supported disenrollment and those bitterly opposed.

It appears the McDonald faction was indeed managing the casino from its base at a nearby business complex up to August, once the rival faction, led by Reggie Lewis, a proponent of disenrollment and incumbent leader of the council after the disputed election, occupied the 10th and 11th floors associated with the casino into the very early hours of the morning, effectively taking it over.

Then in October, the Tribal Gaming Authority threatened to close the casino down and fine the tribe as much as $16 million, due to late filing of audits. This prompted the McDonald faction to act, in whatever they claim was an attempt to retrieve the audits and save the casino.

Criminal or Hero?

Also to some, despite the criminality of his tactics, McDonald is really a hero, a ‘patriot’ fighting for the nice of the tribe. ‘My clients went in to recover papers therefore the casino wouldn’t power down,’ stated his attorney, adding that the faction represented the ‘duly constituted tribal council. They simply took steps to protect the tribe.’

Other people, however, don’t see quite the same heroic tactics in the break-in.

‘Calling Tex McDonald a patriot is like calling a dictator democratically elected,’ said Richard Verri, representing the Lewis group. ‘ The justice that is criminal will determine whether or not the images caught on video associated with the unlawful actions and also the violence he committed upon a casino employee had been legal or unlawful.’

Whatever the truth regarding the matter, McDonald now faces a ‘significant amount of time’ in state jail, according to District Attorney Keitz. And meanwhile the casino remains shuttered by purchase of the judge that is federal with the consequence of lost revenue becoming devastating to the community.