Penn National Gaming says this morning’s decision from the Supreme Judicial Court allowing for a ballot question this November that could lead to the repeal of the state’s casino gambling legislation will not affect its construction schedule on the Plainridge Park Casino slots parlor in Plainville.
“Construction remains full-steam ahead,’’ Eric Schippers, senior vice president of public affairs for Penn National, told Boston.com.
Schippers said the company would not slow down construction and intends to campaign against the ballot initiative.
“We remain confident Massachusetts voters will want to keep [the law],’’ Schipper said.
The Plainville slots parlor was awarded by the state earlier this year, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held shortly thereafter. Schippers said plans remain in place to open the casino in June of 2015.
Penn National paid a $25 million license fee after being awarded the state’s loan slots parlor. The state’s challenge of the ballot question, which the court ruled against today, focused on the fact that gaming companies have already invested significant money in the licensing process. The full casino license that the state has agreed to award to MGM in Springfield carries an $85 million fee that operators do not need to pay until the ballot question is decided.
However, the court’s decision this morning said that those investments, including the $25 million license fee paid for Plainridge, do not factor into the legality of the proposed referendum, as The Boston Business Journal points out.
“Substantial economic loss arising from a change in law under the core police power does not constitute a taking of private property that triggers an entitlement to fair compensation,’’ the ruling read.
Penn National Gaming is based in Pennsylvania.