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Revere Religious Leaders Attempt Last-Minute Opposition To Casino

REVERE, Mass. — On Feb. 25, Revere voters will approve or reject a casino in their city for the second time in four months.

In November, East Boston residents rejected a casino proposal at Suffolk Downs that would have straddled both cities, prompting the racetrack to move the entire project to Revere.

Revere voters overwhelmingly supported the original plan by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent.

“The last time we did not organize,” Pastor Nick Granitsas — who is helping to organize a group of Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders fighting the new casino proposal — said at a news conference Monday.

“The faith community within its own spheres was opposing it,” he said, “but we weren’t organizing and working together, and we really failed.”

Granitsas calls casino operator Mohegan Sun a corporation trying to invade Revere. He says the casino, even with a promised 3,000 new jobs, would drag the city down through higher crime rates, more traffic and compulsive gambling.

But Anthony Zambuto, president of the Revere City Council, calls that an old and false argument.

He says revenue from the casino — a guaranteed minimum of $25 million a year — would offset any negative impacts.

“We’ll be safer here because of this casino,” he said. “We’ll have 25 more police [officers], 25 more firefighters and the security will be much better in the city than it is now.”

Zambuto says residents concerned about gambling should focus on repealing the state gaming law, rather than fighting a casino in Revere.

Pastor Granitsas says he and his colleagues are trying to do just that by supporting efforts to get a repeal question on the ballot this November.

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