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When asked to choose between rival casino proposals for the region, Boston area voters strongly favor Suffolk Downs' plan, a new poll finds.
Forty-eight percent of those surveyed back Mohegan Sun's proposal for a casino on the Revere side of the racetrack, compared with just 27 percent who said they favor Wynn Resorts' plan for a casino along the Mystic River in Everett, according to a survey conducted by the Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The remaining voters were either undecided or opposed to any casino.
Clyde Barrow, a gambling expert and the director of the UMass Dartmouth center, said in a statement accompanying the poll that one reason for the higher support for the Suffolk Downs proposal “is likely because Mohegan Sun is a known commodity in New England that is visited annually by hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents." Mohegan Sun has a massive casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Of course, voters won't decide which of the two casino plans receives the sole Boston area license; that's up to (four of the five) members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
Voters will likely decide, however, on whether or not to repeal the entire 2011 casino law.
A recent decision by the state's highest court cleared the way for a repeal measure to appear on November's ballot. Such a campaign would likely draw public interest and big spending.
The UMass Dartmouth survey found that among Boston area voters, 46 percent would currently vote to uphold the gambling law, while 41 percent would vote to repeal. Thirteen percent weren't sure, or refused to answer the question.
Notably, that support differs along gender lines, with women more in favor of keeping the law. Thirty-seven percent of female respondents would vote "yes," repealing the law, compared with 48 percent who'd vote "no." Among male respondents, 45 percent would repeal the law, versus 44 percent who'd keep it.
The poll of 400 regional voters, conducted June 19-22, has a margin of error of 4.9 percent.