Tuesday’s decision by the Supreme Judiclal Court ordering that the question of whether Massachusetts can issue licenses for casino gambling now must be placed before the voters for a referendum in November is one of seismic proportions, with the epicenter situated right here in the Everett-Chelsea-East Boston-Revere-Winthrop area and its reverberations extending throughout the state.
Regardless of whether one agrees with the SJC’s decision, the bottom line is that our highest court has the final say (in other words, even when the court is wrong, it still is right) and its decision must be followed. The only thing that is clear in the aftermath of the decision is that the question of casino gambling in Massachusetts now is in limbo. The years of planning and million of dollars that have been spent on casino-related matters all could come to nothing, dependent now on the outcome of the November election.
The hopes of our area municipalities, which had been looking toward casino gambling as a significant revenue-producer in the years ahead, are in jeopardy. In addition, the dreams of thousands of our residents who had been looking forward to jobs in the casino industry likewise have been placed on hold.
There is no doubt that the casino proponents now will make their case to the voters in the coming months. Voters can expect to be barraged with a lot of information from both sides of the issue. Hopefully they will take the time to sift through what they hear and separate the facts from the hyperbole in order to make an informed decision.
But as things stand right now, about the only thing that is certain is that everything casino-related is uncertain.