Broad Based Coalition to Defeat Repeal of Casino Gaming
The Committee to Protect Massachusetts Jobs today officially launched its campaign to fight the repeal of Governor Deval Patrick’s casino gaming law. Members of the coalition include groups and individuals from all walks of life – businesses, labor unions, elected officials, individuals, and resort casino companies. All of them share the concern that a repeal of casino gaming will rob Massachusetts of a new industry and much needed jobs and economic development opportunities.
“Gaming is already here for Massachusetts residents. They’re just doing it out of state,” said Jeff Ciuffreda, Executive Director of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve been spending almost $1 billion a year on average in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maine casinos. We need to bring home some of this money and make sure we get the jobs and the revenue, not the other states.”
In 2011, Massachusetts passed a law to create three resort casinos and one slots casino, and in doing so, the Commonwealth will join 39 other states that have some type of gaming. In the process, Massachusetts will create 6,500 construction jobs and 10,000 permanent jobs, with solid wages and real benefits.
Residents in Plainville, Springfield, Revere, and Everett looked at the opportunity and voted to support a gaming facility to their community and the jobs and economic opportunity that come with it. Each of these towns has more residents out of work than most of the rest of the state. In Springfield, unemployment hovers near 9 percent.
In Plainville, where the slots license has been granted, hundreds of construction workers are already at work building the new facility. The town will earn approximately $1.5 million annually in property taxes and approximately $2-3 million each year in gaming profits when the facility opens.
“For our community, this means we can afford to do things like build a new public safety complex and a new town hall without taxpayers having to pay for it,” said Plainville Town Administrator Joseph Fernandes. “Not to mention the 125 jobs that will be preserved at the horse racing track, 500 new jobs and substantial opportunities for local businesses – new and old. It is not fair to try to take that away from us.”
The Committee is concentrating much of its efforts on building grassroots support across the state. After just three weeks of organizing, more than 250 groups and individuals have already joined the effort and the campaign plans to execute an extensive ground effort throughout the fall.
“Between now and Election Day of November 4, we will be engaging voters across the Commonwealth about the benefits that gaming will bring to Massachusetts,” said Wooten Johnson, Campaign Manager for Vote No on Question 3. “There are many benefits to highlight, and a fair amount of misinformation we need to combat.”
Chief among the benefits that Johnson’s campaign team will stress with voters are:
- Creating 10,000 new jobs and 6,500 construction jobs. These jobs will have an average compensation of around $45,000 in salary and benefits. Contrast that with jobs in the retail sector where average wages are in the $26,000 range and those jobs often don’t include health care and other benefits. These new jobs could provide an opportunity for many to achieve a career path in a new industry. At a time when many are struggling to find jobs that provide both stability and an opportunity for growth, the gaming industry can provide a gateway for both.
- Ensuring that the communities that already voted to host a casino can get the jobs, business, and revenue they voted for.
- Putting an end to shipping our residents’ hard-earned money and tax dollars out of state to Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maine. Our state is the region’s single largest contributor to gaming revenues and tax dollars, even though we have no casino. We ship it all out of state. In fact, our dollars totaled about one third of Connecticut’s New England gaming tax receipts over the past decade and nearly half Rhode Island’s haul.
For additional information, or to join the Coalition, go to www.protectmassjobs.com.
If we all join together in a statewide coalition, we can defeat Question 3 and give Massachusetts the chance to create 10,000 permanent jobs and 6,500 construction jobs. And, we’ll gain over $400 million annually in tax revenues, much of which is currently leaving our state – dollars that can help our state and cities and towns to fund important public services like education, and make critical infrastructure improvements.
If you’d like to help us put a stop to Question 3, join our coalition by clicking here. There are so many ways to help – put a bumper sticker on your car, a sign on your lawn, or write a letter to the editor of your local paper.