FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Voters in Foxborough have made it harder for a casino to be built in their town, electing two selectmen opposed to any talks over a resort casino proposed by Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn.
The state’s new casino law allows a town’s Board of Selectmen to chose whether or not to open up negotiations with a casino developer. Wynn had approached Foxborough with a proposal to develop a $1 billion casino on land owned by Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots.
Before Monday’s election, the Foxborough Board of Selectmen opposed entering into any negotiations with Wynn, 3-2.
Two years ago, the selectmen’s election drew a 17 percent turnout. With a casino proposal looming, 58 percent of Foxborough’s registered voters turned out.
In the end, voters decided to re-elect one selectmen who opposes casinos and to replace one selectman who supports negotiating with Wynn. As it stands now, the Board of Selectmen is opposed 4-1 against casinos.
“Mr. Kraft and Mr. Wynn, when they originally announced the proposal, they said that if the town of Foxborough had any kind of hesitation, that they would back off,” said Virginia Coppola, the newly elected selectmen who opposes casinos. “We started protesting, they did not back off. This is the referendum that they’ve been asking for. This tells them, I think, that they should back off.”
The town is so divided on the issue that people weren’t sharing how they voted. Many of those who voted for selectman who want to negotiate with Wynn said they just want a proposal on the table so that the town can then have a referendum on it.
“It’s our right to decide what’s going to come into our town. It’s not just the selectmen that should have the right,” Foxborough resident Joanne Warcup said.
When election officials announced the results Monday night in the middle school gym, casino opponents cheered.
Those who support negotiating a deal with Wynn and then putting it to a town referendum cite Wynn, who says he’s not going away. But casino opponents predict that two years from now, when there is another election, Wynn will have lost interest and moved on to another town.