Debt Piling Up For Anti-Casino Group

The group attempting to repeal the state's casino law owes consultants, lawyers and supporters about $440,000 and has less than $11,000 in cash.

Repeal the Casino Deal is attempting to strike the law that has so far allowed for a slots parlor license at Plainridge Racecourse, an MGM casino license in Springfield and a Wynn casino in Springfield, with a third casino license yet to be awarded in southeastern Massachusetts.

The group had a rocky road to the ballot, as Attorney General Martha Coakley ruled the question unconstitutional before the Supreme Judicial Court overturned Coakley's ruling.

Repeal the Casino Deal owes Smith Duggan Buell & Rufo $128,850 and the law firm Verrill Dana $94,208 for legal services. It owes Spoonworks, of Brookline, $107,310 for consulting and management of the signature drive, and owes the media relations firm Melwood Global $36,000. Darek Barcikowski of Salem is owed $10,000 for campaign management.

"While we always knew we would be out-spent by the deep-pocketed casino bosses who wrote two checks to fund the first $1.7 million their campaign, we are encouraged by the steady growth in support for stopping the casino mess," spokesman David Guarino said in a statement.

The "casino bosses" website doesn't have a donate button, Guarino said, while the anti-casino group has "the grassroots that can't be bought."

The Coalition to Protect Massachusetts Jobs, which opposes the repeal question, took in $1.78 million almost entirely from MGM Resorts International and from Penn National, which is building the Plainridge slots facility and began on Monday accepting applications for 500 new jobs. As of Monday morning the pro-casino group hadn't filed its report for the first half of September. The reports are due Monday.

Urging them "not to push the challenge down to underlings," casino repeal campaign officials last week invited the CEOs of three casinos as well as House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate Majority Leader Stanley Rosenberg to a series of debates before the Nov. 4 election.



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