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In fights over casinos, need for jobs often paramount

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Hard Rock International learned a hard political lesson in West Springfield on Tuesday, when its casino plans were crushed at the ballot box: With few exceptions, Bay State suburbs are hostile territory for the gambling industry.

Since the state legalized Las Vegas-style casinos in 2011, cash-flushed developers promising jobs and millions of dollars in benefits have been bum-rushed out of town by Foxborough, Boxborough, Millbury, Tewksbury, and Salisbury. Freetown and Lakeville emphatically joined the suburban anticasino chorus in nonbinding referenda.

What almost all of these places have in common is a more affluent population.

Estimated median household income among those anticasino communities averages about $75,000, according to the demographic website city-data.com, compared with a statewide average of about $63,000 in 2011.

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