Casino Firms Spend Heavily To Fight Repeal Ballot Question

Casino companies that have been awarded licenses in Massachusetts donated $4.5 million this month to a group fighting repeal of the state's casino gambling law, according to campaign finance records.

Wynn Resorts plans a $1.6 billion resort casino in Everett, and the company, led by Las Vegas gambling mogul Steve Wynn, was awarded the coveted eastern Massachusetts license by the state's gambling commission last month.

The company made a $1 million donation on Oct. 7 to the Coalition to Protect Mass Jobs, according to filings with the state office of Campaign and Political Finance. Wynn had not publicly committed in the past to putting its financial muscle behind the effort to defeat Question 3 on the November ballot, which if approved would outlaw casino gambling in Massachusetts.

MGM Resorts International, which was awarded a license for a resort casino in downtown Springfield, made two contributions totaling $2.5 million to the anti-repeal effort during the reporting period ending Oct. 20, on top of the $775,000 it had previously given.

Penn National, which plans a slots parlor in Plainville, made a $1 million contribution during the most recent reporting period and has given more than $3.2 million overall since July.

The Coalition to Protect Jobs has raised more than $7.5 million and spent $6.2 million since the start of the campaign.

By contrast, the Repeal the Casino Deal Committee has raised $436,000 while spending just under $415,000.

Groups supporting and opposing all four Massachusetts ballot questions have already raised a total of nearly $20.7 million and spent more than $17 million of that trying to persuade voters, according to an Associated Press review of records filed with the state.

The biggest spender has been the No On Question 2: Stop Forced Deposits committee funded largely by supermarket chains and a beverage trade group.

The group has raised more than $8.7 million - and spent nearly as much - trying to kill a question that would expand the state's bottle deposit law to include bottled water and noncarbonated beverages.

This article was originally published on October 21, 2014.


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