The Last Of The Waiting Begins; Mass. Gaming Commission Decides Next Week On Springfield Casino

Next week Massachusetts’ Gaming Commission will begin the last of its casino license hearings in Springfield. The city’s mayor Domenic Sarno says he is thinking positively. What he’d like to see is that MGM gets the licence for Springfield, and then a few weeks later the Massachusetts SJC rules against a ballot question repealing the state’s 2011 gambling law.

“There is an excitement,” Sarno says, “but we really want to get to the point in time where we get a shovel and bricks and mortar going.”

Sarno has for months been describing the casino as the economic development engine the city needs.

Paul Debole, a Lasell College (Newton, Mass.) political scientist, and an analyst for a casino lobbying firm, says a  2010 Federal analysis shows that casinos do yield a net economic effect, but that’s mostly for the state.

“There’s going to be a huge spillover,” Debole says. “The question is, whatever that amount is going to be, looking at that in terms of the negatives. I’m a little cautious as to what the tangible economic effects will be.”

MGM has asked the commission to postpone awarding the license until after the fate of the gambling law is clear.