Dozens lined up to ask panelists questions at Wednesday night's forum. Greg Desrosiers/TSM[/caption]More residents are getting involved in discussions about the proposed New Bedford waterfront casino, with less than two weeks away from the citywide referendum. 

Over 200 people attended the public forum at the Zeitarion Theater Wednesday night sponsored by Leadership Southcoast and Southcoast Media Group.

The forum included 10 panelists with a wide array of positions on a future casino.

One panelist was Lynn Collins Cunninghman, director of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce in Bethlehem, PA. The city is similar to New Bedford and has been looked at as a model since it opened the Sands Casino in 2009.

Cunningham says "Bethlehem is better of after having elected to bring the Sands Casino to Bethlehem."

Panelist Stephanie Rafael-DeMello is co-owner of Bela Flor Seafood Brokerage Co., manager of Northeast Fishery Sector 9 and says she can't support the proposal.

"The idea of the casino is very frightening, not only for our city, but for our port - we strongly oppose this," Rafael-DeMello said during her opening remarks.

Other members of the fishing industry also voiced their concerns about placing a casino on the waterfront and what it will do to their investments and their futures.

Some other questions and comments included possible impacts on property values, job opportunities, and traffic flow along Route 18,

There will be one final public forum held at Normandin Middle School June 17th at 6:00 pm before the June 23rd vote.