EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

March 13, 2013

Salem bets heavily on casino

Salem voters overwhelming approve casino at The Rock

(Continued)

Millennium would invest $425 million in its redevelopment plan, Morse said, generating millions of dollars in revenue for Salem, the state and surrounding communities. That includes $80 million from the licensing fee alone and at least $100,000 in annual revenue, he said.

Millennium spokesman Rich Killion said the vote was a positive show of support for a casino at Rockingham Park.

“Attaining over 80 percent support is a testament to the leadership in this community, across town government and the nonprofit and private sectors,” Killion said in a statement. “That’s because the people of Salem have a century-long relationship with The Rock and they know it can once again be a catalyst for thousands of jobs, economic development and a provider of sustainable revenue for years to come.

More than a dozen residents interviewed at the polls yesterday said they support a casino, saying it would boost the town’s economy and lower their property taxes.

“We need the tax money,” said Amanda Maciariello, 36. “We could use a casino at the track. It looks rundown.”

Lynne Farrington, 55, agreed. She said people who could be gambling in Salem — generating valuable revenue for the community — will just go to the casinos being built in the Bay State.

“It would help out with taxes,” she said. “Salem needs the boost or else they will go to Massachusetts.”

Perhaps the strongest supporter of a casino at the polls yesterday was Selectmen’s Chairman Patrick Hargreaves.

Hargreaves, running for re-election, stood in the pouring rain holding his campaign sign and explaining to voters why he believes Salem needs a casino.

“We’ve been pushing the casino,” Hargreaves said. “I’m looking for 75 percent support. That’s going to send a message to the state reps.”

While Morse’s bill is expected to pass in the Republican-led Senate, it’s future is uncertain in the House.

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