Hard Rock Issues Economic Impact Study of Proposed West Springfield Casino

Hard Rock Casinos released a study this week outlining the economic impact of its proposed casino in West Springfield. But one former local partner with the company is skeptical of the job numbers put forward in the study. 

The impact study, conducted by a Los Angeles consulting firm, estimates that a Hard Rock Casino would contribute 12 million dollars in tax revenue to the state, and create 2,700 construction jobs and 3,500 permanent jobs in Hampden County. Mark Rivers is head of Bronson Companies, Hard Rock’s development consultant. He says those job estimates include positions outside the gambling floor.

“So that includes all the jobs not only in the building, but the jobs that come associated with an operation like this, indirect jobs…food purveyors, service providers.”

But Tony Cignoli, a political consultant and former local partner with Hard Rock, questions those numbers. He cites lower job estimates put out for MGM’s Springfield proposal, just across the Connecticut river. And he says though Hard Rock hired an outside consultant to study economic impacts, hired consultants often bring back desired results, especially when an issue needs voter approval.

“You’re certainly not going to find consultants that are going to go and bring out issues or problems that are not conducive to winning an election within an electorate.”

Hard Rock is in the process of forging a host community agreement with West Springfield. An agreement has already been signed by Springfield officials and MGM, and it goes to a vote July 16th.