Only one slots parlor, in Plainville, has opened since casino gambling was legalized in Massachusetts in 2011. Question 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot would open the door for another one. But not just anywhere. The referendum deals with a specific location and a specific development.
What would Question 1 do?
Allow the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to license a second slots parlor, expanding the mix of three casinos and one slots parlor allowed under the gaming law.
Would a “yes” guarantee another casino?
No. The vote would allow, but not compel, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to license a second slots parlor.
Where would it be?
Revere, most likely. The language of the ballot question is narrowly tailored to apply to land near the Suffolk Downs racetrack.
Don’t Revere residents get the final say?
Yes. Under the gambling law, local residents get to weigh in on the benefits to their community and could reject the slots parlor, even if the ballot question passes statewide.
Revere voters previously supported two different casino proposals for Suffolk Downs that didn’t get licensed. Last week, in their first consideration of this new slots parlor plan, Revere voters rejected it nearly 2 to 1. For the slots parlor to move forward, it would need Revere’s approval in another local referendum.
Why are all Massachusetts voters being asked to vote on a casino that appears destined for Revere?
Statewide ballot questions cannot be specific to only one jurisdiction. However, the attorney general and the Supreme Judicial Court agreed this one is not. There are, theoretically, locations besides Suffolk Downs that are at least 4 acres, within 1,500 feet of a racetrack and its facilities, where horse races have been held, and that are not separated from the track by a highway or railway, as the ballot question requires.