REVERE — About 200 people opposing a proposed Mohegan Sun casino walked from the Immaculate Conception Church to Revere City Hall this afternoon, led by a Salvadoran marching band.
Revere residents will vote Tuesday whether to allow Mohegan Sun to build a $1.3 billion casino and hotel development on 42 acres owned by Suffolk Downs.
In November, Revere residents approved plans by about 60 percent for a casino that would have straddled the Revere-Boston line; the plan was voted down in East Boston, however. The new plan up for vote Tuesday would build on land located solely within Revere.
Protesters gathered at the church on Winthrop Avenue at 1 p.m. and began marching to City Hall, making enough noise to draw people from their homes.
“We do not need or want a casino,” Linda Aufiero, a lifelong Revere resident, told the crowd at City Hall. “I believe gambling and alcohol go hand in hand — addiction.”
Aufiero’s father used to go to Wonderland and gamble when she was young, she said, and she was concerned that some casual gamblers would become addicted to the rush of gambling without realizing it.
“It happens so quickly,” she told a reporter after the rally. “You think, ‘I’m just gonna go down and spend a few dollars.’ And then maybe a few days later you go again. And before you know it, the money’s gone.”
Her friend Linda Fennelly, a Revere resident and spa therapist at Skin For All Seasons on Revere Street, said she is not only wary of the traffic a successful casino could bring, but is skeptical of claims a casino would help smaller businesses.
“I don’t believe that people will leave a casino to come to our spa. I hope they will,” said Fennelly, a yellow anti-casino sticker affixed to her forehead. “People are not gonna leave the casino once they’re in there.”
Karin Esturban, 33, said she voted against the casino proposal in November, but did not get involved in the activism opposing it until about two months ago.
“I see more unity, the community is getting closer and closer,” Esturban said. “And I understand [the issues]. I read the articles. I understand the problems.”
Esturban said she fears students in the Beachmont Veterans Memorial School, near the proposed casino site, would come into contact with casino customers; that police would be too busy at the casino to monitor other parts of the city; and that the new jobs would go to experienced casino workers from outside Revere.
That rally, she hoped, would get the attention of Revere Mayor Daniel Rizzo, who has been vocal in his support of a casino.
“We’re asking the mayor not to get deceived. There’s another side of Revere that says no. And he is the mayor, he’s supposed to listen to both parties, not just one.”
Yeiman Martinez, 28, of Revere, said he did not want to see a casino bring more drugs to the area.
“Many people would come — drug people. We don’t want those people getting around the city,” Martinez said.
About an hour after the anti-casino group gathered, more than 400 people filled a VFW Hall in Revere for a “Vote Yes” rally organized by Friends of Mohegan Sun, a political action group.Gal Tziperman Lotan can be reached at email@example.com.