Penn National Gaming opposing expansion; Conflict of interest identified in Springfield Mississippi venues reopen

TAGs: Maine, Massachusetts, MGM Resorts, mississippi, oxford casino, penn national gaming, springfield

penn national logoA group being backed by a gambling firm has produced an advert urging Maryland voters to side against expansion of gambling in the state. Penn National Gaming, owner and operator of Hollywood Casino in Perryville and Charles Town Races and Slots in West Virginia, is backing the “Get The Facts Vote No On 7” group. The advert argues that officials in the state have not conducted “transparent” negotiations with casino operators. Secondly it says the state has given huge tax breaks to casino operators at the same time as raising taxes for working families. It will comes as a surprise that a casino firm is backing the plan but if it threatens their business then it’s entirely believable they’d back such a campaign.

An expert hired to help Western Massachusetts pour over casino proposals is a registered lobbyist for two of the companies bidding to win the contract. Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said on Monday that the city had hired law firm Shefsky & Froelich and that was before anyone knew the law firm is the registered lobbyist of MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming, Chairman of the law firm Cezar Froelich played down concers, adding: “The fellow who does that work is walled off from us, which we represented to the city.” He said his firm “has never talked to Penn or MGM or any other company about any of the activities in Massachusetts, either formally or informally.”

Mississippi’s casinos have started to open after they were forced to close in the midst of Hurricane Isaac. Six of the state’s 12 venues have already reopened meaning they could see revenues rebound over the Labor Day weekend. Allen Godfrey, the Mississippi Gaming Commission executive director, told WLOX-TV: “We have targeted to have all back in operation by noon tomorrow (Friday)”. Five of those that are still closed are planning to fling open the doors today with the final casino, the Silver Slipper in Waveland, like to be back in business on Saturday.


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