The Coalition to Protect Massachusetts jobs is ramping up its campaign to defeat a November ballot question asking to repeal the state’s inclusive gambling laws. According to Phillip Marcelo of the Associated Press, the casino financed group allocated a budget of $702,000, which it spent between September 1 and 15, the group’s campaign finance filing indicates. The amount is $125,000 higher than the amount the group spent at its inception in July, all through to the end-of-August.
The advocacy group is largely financed by the Penn National Gaming, which is investing more than $220 million at the harness racing track in Plainville after it recently won the only slot parlor license from the state of Massachusetts. Another major donor is the MGM Resorts International which is planning a $800 million development in Springfield after it won a resort casino license, the other main contributors to the campaign kitty are the local labor unions.
If the November ballot is effectively approved, the decree will see a cessation of any new casino developments, because a 2011 law allows for the licensing of 1 slot parlor and 3-casino slots in the state. Recent polling has shown a momentum on the part of the pro-casino group. However, the group’s campaign manager Wooten Johnson says that they will continue pushing ahead with the campaign ahead until they reach out to as many people as possible. On the opposing end, is the Repeal the Casino Deal group; the anti-casino group has spent $50,000 in the same two-week window.
The pro-casino group’s largest donor is the Atlantic Charter Insurance Company CEO, Linda Sallop who has donated $25,000. According to the AP report, at the time of going to the press, the pro-casino group had $506,429 in the bank while the anti-casino group had only about $10,675 at hand. The Coalition to Protect Massachusetts jobs has spent $90,00 on media production from a Washington D.C based advertising and media company GMMB, the group played a critical role in the election of President Barack Obama for two terms.
Other expenses were paid to the group’s campaign advisers; chief among them the DCI-Group of Washington D.C, Martilla Strategies of Boston and Campaign Industries of Illinois of whom the group has spent $43,772, $25,000 and $22,816 respectively. However, the biggest by the pro-casino group spending was $190,000 to purchase campaign commercial airtime at the local TV-stations. Massachusetts Live reports that the Coalition to Protect Massachusetts job’s first TV campaign was a 30 seconds ad in Western Massachusetts.
The campaign featured the president and CEO of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield – Jeff Ciuffreda. The ad will be run in both Springfield and Boston markets. Domenic Sarno – Springfield Mayor, was recently quoted saying that the jobs that will come as a result of the MGM Springfield project are exactly what the city of Springfield needed. In August, the rates of unemployment in Springfield stood at 10.3%; this was a 0.2% drop from the July figures.