- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - The first television advertisement in the campaign to preserve the state’s developing casino industry was unveiled Tuesday by MGM Resorts and its supporters in Springfield, the economically struggling western Massachusetts city where it is planning an $800 million resort.

The 30-second spot features comments from Jeffrey Ciuffreda, president and CEO of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield, interspersed with images of shows and restaurants at MGM’s other resorts.

“Springfield’s unemployment rate is in double digits. We need the 3,000 jobs,” he says, referring to the permanent jobs that MGM’s project promises to generate. “We’re asking people (to) please vote ‘no’ on Question 3 and really help us save these 3,000 jobs that are coming to the City of Springfield.”

MGM was awarded the state’s first casino license for its proposed $800 million resort casino in downtown Springfield, pending the results of November’s vote.

The ad, which is running in the Boston and Springfield media markets starting Tuesday, is being paid for by the Coalition to Protect Massachusetts Jobs, a political advocacy group that has raised nearly $1.8 million to defeat November’s ballot question, which proposes repealing the 2011 state law that allows for up to three resort casinos and one slot parlor in Massachusetts.

If approved, the question would effectively halt casino projects before any can open their doors.

Justine Griffin, a spokeswoman for the group, says the ad was made by GMMB Inc., a Washington D.C.-based advertising and media company that played a prominent role in Barack Obama’s 2008 successful presidential run and his re-election campaign in 2012. The Coalition to Protect Massachusetts Jobs recently paid the firm nearly $90,000, according to its latest campaign filing.

The advocacy group is financed, in large part, by MGM and Penn National Gaming, which holds the state’s lone slot parlor license for its planned facility at the harness racing track Plainville. The ad was revealed Tuesday morning at a press conference at MGM’s downtown Springfield office. Ciuffreda, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and other city leaders attended.

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