Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court
has ruled that an item to repeal the state's 2011 Expanded Gaming Act can be placed on the ballot in November. This puts years of work by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and various entities bidding for licenses in limbo until after the vote.
"The Massachusetts Gaming Commission respects the decision of the Supreme Judicial Court," Massachusetts Gaming Commission chairman Steve Crosby said in a statement. "We have the flexibility to achieve progress in the licensing and regulatory process even in an atmosphere of uncertainty."
The commission awarded its first of three resort licenses, for the state's western region, in June to an $800 million Springfield project led by MGM; the license now will become valid the day after the vote, if the law is upheld.
The second resort gaming license, in the Boston area, now will be announced at the end of the summer. The third license, for southeastern Massachusetts, will be awarded in September 2015.
A group called Repeal the Casino Deal gathered signatures on a petition to place the issue on the ballot. As the 2011 Expanded Gaming Act was created by the state legislature, the vote in November will be the first time the citizens of Massachusetts will have their say on the law.