Springfield Officials Opt To Not Hold Casino Referendum In June

A plan to hold a casino referendum in Springfield on the same day as the June 25th Special Election to fill Massachusetts’ vacant US Senate seat is going by the wayside. Springfield officials had hoped voters going to the polls to choose a US senator to fill the remainder of John Kerry’s term, would also be able to decide on whether to have a casino in the city. However, host community agreements with the proposed developers – MGM Resorts and Penn National Gaming – would have had to be completed by this Thursday in order to hold the casino referendum on June 25th. Kevin Kennedy, Springfield’s chief economic development officer, says that’s not enough time for the city’s consultants to finish working out some unresolved details in the agreements.
“It’s just a matter of getting through the document which is in excess of 100 pages plus about 25 or 30 pages of exhibits. It’s a very big task and we’re nearing the end of it.”
Kennedy says he’s optimistic the agreements will be finalized in a couple of weeks before they go to the Mayor and City Council for their approval.
“I think both companies have good packages on the table. And I think that the people of Springfield not only will be very interested, but I think it could be pretty appealing to them.”
Kennedy says it’s more likely only one developer will be placed on ballot. But he says that decision, and when the election will take place, is up to Mayor Domenic Sarno. Kennedy says taxpayers will not have to pay the bill for the voter referendum, which is estimated to cost about $150,000. That, he says, will be paid for by the chosen developer.