Anti-Casino Referendum Was Defeated, Clearing the Way for the Wynn Casino in Everett
Massachusetts voters on Tuesday voted to approve the 2011 casino licensing bill. If Massachusetts had approved Question 3 on the midterm ballot, it would have stopped the building of two casinos which recently were approved.
Anti-Gambling Activists Lost
Question 3 had become a hot-button issue with social conservatives, as anti-gambling activists campaigned heavily to see the referendum succeed. The anti-casino activist argued that the Boston-area casino set to be built by Wynn Resorts would increase crime rates and problem gambling in the nearby communities.
On a night when the Republicans were expected to make gains on a national scale, some wondered if such a measure might gain support. In the governors race to succeed Deval Patrick, GOP candidate Charlie Baker defeated Democratic candidate Martha Coakley in a close race. With such results, there had been a chance that GOP voters might vote against casino law. The Wynn Casino in Everett is likely to help the nearby area, but residents in most parts of the state might have seen few benefits for them.
Question 3 Garnered 40% of the Vote
In the end, the casino repeal measure lost by a rough margin of 40% to 60%. The people of Everett celebrated loudly after the win was announced. The vote means that the community will add about 6,300 new jobs. For the state in general, the casino will bring in new tax revenues to help the school fund, without raising taxes on the population.
Besides the Wynn Resorts casino in the Boston area, Question 3 determined whether MGM Resorts could move ahead with its plans to build a land-based casino in Springfield, near the Connecticut border. The license award had been put on hold until the referendum voting was finished, but it now is set to be announced in the next few days.
More Licenses to Come
A third license earlier had been announced for Penn National Gaming Inc, which has a slots-only license for casino gaming at the racetrack in Plainville, near the border with Rhode Island. The gaming commission still has to announce the results of an application process for a fourth casino around the Cape Cod beach resort area.
The licensing process took 3 years and took a toll on the domestic gaming industry. The owners of Suffolk Downs spent millions to see the casino license vote go its way in the 2011 election. Once the process was approved, Las Vegas gaming companies entered the scene and won the important licensing battles. After the Wynn Resorts license was announced last month, the owners of Suffolk Downs announced the 79-year old racetrack would be shut down.
2014 Midterm Elections
The night was a big one for the Republican Party. The GOP won at least 7 seats in the U.S. Senate, and will hold at least 52 seats in all. That gives the Republicans enough seats to hold the majority, though they won’t have nearly enough votes to override vetoes by President Barack Obama. Senator Mitch McConnell won his reelection campaign and is set to achieve his long-time personal goal: to become Senate Majority Leader.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, the Republicans won at least 9 new aggregate seats–and probably more. When the counting is finished, the Grand Old Party is set to have a House majority with around 245 seats. In the biggest surprise of the night, the Republicans, who held 29 of 50 governorships coming into the night, won a several additional governorships. It was a strong night for the Republic Party, who claim the American people had denounced the Obama agenda with their vote.
The Republicans now hold both houses of the U.S. Congress. Many Democrats claim the GOP have worked to obstruct the president’s agenda these past 6 years, only to have the Democrats blamed for gridlock on Capitol Hill. Now it’s the turn of the Democratic Party to play obstructionists, in the hopes the Republicans get the blame two years from now. President Obama is expected to veto many bills, while continue to lead with the use of executive orders.
GOP Control and Restoration of the Wire Act
How the elections will affect the state of online gambling in the United States is uncertain. The Republicans stand to control legislative initiatives for the next two years, so it is possible Lindsey Graham and Jason Chaffetz might have better luck pushing the Restoration the Wire Act bill through Congress. Any such bill would need the president’s signature.
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