Voters in Massachusetts have rejected a referendum to repeal the law that legalized casino gambling in the Bay State, the Boston Globe reported
The bill, which allows up to three casino resorts in three different regions of the state, has been under heavy fire since its passage in 2011. Although rivals attempted last year to put a measure on the ballot repealing the gambling law, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley ruled that the measure was unconstitutional because it would illegally strip casino developers of their contract rights without compensation. Opponents subsequently sued and won, earning the right to put their measure on the ballot in this year's election.
Voters, who took to the polls on Tuesday, voted overwhelmingly against repeal, with 60.1 percent opposing the repeal measure and 39.9 percent supporting it.
"The Massachusetts Gaming Commission respects the voters' choice to continue moving forward with the successful implementation of the Gaming Act," Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Steve Crosby said in a statement. "The Commission remains committed to two key objectives: maximizing the revenue, jobs, and other economic development impacts of expanded gaming; and minimizing the unintended and potentially negative consequences of expanded gaming. We realize that approximately [40 percent] voted in favor of the ballot initiative, and it is our job to continue to earn the confidence of all the people of Massachusetts -- proponents and opponents alike."
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission awarded its first casino license, for the state's western region, in June to MGM Resorts International, which will build a 250-room hotel, 45,000 square feet of meeting space, and a 125,000-square-foot casino in Springfield, MA. The Commission awarded its second license in September to Wynn Resorts, which plans to build a 500-room casino resort in Everett, MA, outside of Boston. A third license in southeastern Massachusetts has yet to be granted.