Globe Poll: Voters Support Casinos, Don’t Trust Gaming Board

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby.
Masachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby. –David L Ryan, Globe Staff

Massachusetts residents have soured on the state’s gaming board but still seem to support casino gaming, according to a Boston Globe poll.

The poll found 52 percent of respondents support keeping 2011 casino legislation in place, while 41 percent would like to see it repealed. The state’s Supreme Judicial Court is expected to decide next month whether a referendum to repeal the law winds up on voters’ ballots this November.

Those results conflict some with a Boston Herald and Suffolk University poll released earlier this month, in which voters said they disapproved of plans to locate casinos in the state by a 47-37 margin. The Globe polled 630 voters while the Herald polled 800. The Herald’s results represented a big swing from a previous poll in February, showing a 51-37 result in support of casinos.


(You could argue that a percentage of the Herald respondents who do not support plans to put casinos in the state wouldn’t necessarily vote to repeal the law.)

While the Globe poll showed voters to support casinos, it didn’t reflect support for the folks overseeing the gaming process. Fifty-two percent of voters “paying close attention’’ said they don’t have confidence in the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, compared to 45 percent who do.

That might be because of a perceived conflict of interest on the board which led to board chair Stephen Crosby recusing himself from any further discussion about the Eastern Massachusetts license. Other issues surrounding the casino process—like fights between developers and cities, including Boston, over mitigation issues and the very prospect that after all this work a repeal question could find its way onto the fall’s ballot—may have also muddied the board’s reputation.

The board has already awarded a slots license in Plainville, and last week agreed to award the Western Massachusetts license to the MGM proposal in Springfield. The actual awarding of that license is pending the outcome of the referendum effort.

Update: This article has been updated to better describe differences between the Globe and Herald polls.

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