BOSTON (CBS) — It’s deja vu for Celeste Rebeiro Myers, who chairs the No On One Committee.
Two years ago, she fought the casino license that ultimately went to Everett. The East Boston resident says her arguments haven’t changed.
Read: 2016 Ballot Questions
“I live adjacent to Logan Airport where 15 million travelers come here on an annual basis, and really, I’m concerned about what that means to our economy if we allow these folks to come in, she says. “And also the burden on the businesses in the area and families and folks that are living there.”
Jason Osborne, who is pro-Question One and Chairman of the Horseracing Jobs and Education Committee, argues that targeting tourists is a plus.
“We want Massachusetts folks to work in our facility or to benefit from our facility, but not to actually come in and gamble in our facility,” he says.
Rebeiro Myers isn’t impressed.
“Jobs is always a great buzzword, but they haven’t really provided anything tangible about what the jobs would be, what the pay rates would be, what a benefits package would be, that kind of thing,” Myers says. “The most prolific job in a slots parlor is a slots machine.”
Osborne says slots parlors have progressed beyond one-armed bandits.
“I mean, this isn’t the 60s or the 70s,” he says. “These are really high-tech, more electronic gaming machines, with kind of video poker and for folks who have been to Las Vegas recently or even Plainridge Park, you don’t see a lot of these old traditional slots machines. You see more of a gaming operation.”
Rebeiro Myers argues Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville has underperformed. Osborne looks at the numbers differently.
“Our stance is,well, they’ve contributed 88 million dollars to the state budget,” she says. “In our view, that is not under performing. I mean, that’s 88 million dollars that did not have to come out of people’s pocketbooks in the form of tax increases.”
Neither Suffolk Downs nor its unions are directly involved in Question One. However, they would be impacted, since Question One calls for a slots parlor within 1500 feet of a horseracing facility.
The plans include a 400-500 room hotel. Rebeiro Myers says the developers aren’t local.
“It seems like it’s an investment team that has been sitting on the sidelines,” he says. “They have the perception that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, particularly this area, is ripe for the picking.”
Osborne vows developers would be good neighbors.
When asked what his elevator pitch to voters would be, Osborne responded, “Take a look at how much additional revenue goes to the state that doesn’t come out of their own pockets.”
Myers has the following message.
“You know, this is the wrong proposal, the wrong time, the wrong location and the wrong person,” he says.
If Question One passes, ultimately it will be up to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to approve an additional Type II gaming license in the state.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mary Blake reports