Baker wants Springfield casino even if law dumped
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — If he wins the governor’s office in November and Massachusetts voters also repeal the state’s casino gambling law, Republican Charlie Baker says he would then ask the Legislature pass a new law to rescue a planned resort casino in Springfield.
Baker made the comments on Wednesday (http://bit.ly/1wai9Od ) during a meeting with the editorial board of The Republican newspaper.
The state’s gambling commission in June approved MGM Resort International’s proposal for an $800 million casino in downtown Springfield. The project is strongly supported by city officials.
But a question on the state ballot calls for repeal of the 2011 law allowing for up to three regional resort casinos and one slots parlor.
“I’m going to vote against the repeal effort,” Baker said. “And if the repeal effort is approved, I’m going to file legislation to put the Springfield casino back on the map.”
He cited MGM’s “imaginative” design for the casino and its potential to create jobs and help other businesses in the western Massachusetts city as reasons to potentially revive the project even if the state law is repealed.
Baker, the 2010 Republican gubernatorial nominee, faces Mark Fisher in the Sept. 9 primary. The winner will move on to face the top vote-getter in a three-way Democratic primary and several independent candidates in November. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick is not seeking re-election.
While Baker opposes repeal of the casino law, he has also said in the past that he would have preferred the state initially authorize only a single casino.
He has urged the commission to wait until after the November referendum to decide the competition between Wynn Resorts and Mohegan Sun for the eastern Massachusetts casino license, but the panel is still expected to award the license next month.
Information from: The Springfield (Mass.) Republican, http://www.masslive.com/news/