There are some small but possibly significant differences between the big money casino deals struck by Springfield and West Springfield. The agreements were negotiated with casino operators looking to win Western Massachusetts’ only casino license.
MGM’s plan in Springfield and Hard Rock Gaming’s in West Springfield each call for about an 800-million-dollar capital investment. Clyde Barrow from UMass Dartmouth is an expert in the gambling industry.
“It’s no accident that similar type facilities would require the same number of construction employees, they’re both estimating about 2,000 construction jobs, both estimating about 3,000 permanent jobs, both estimating they’ll spend 50-million-dollars a year with local vendors.”
Still, there are a few areas where the proposals are different. Hard Rock would give about three times as much money up front to West Springfield as MGM would give to Springfield. Most of that extra cash for West Springfield would be spent on road construction.
Another key area is payments to surrounding towns to offset the effects of a casino–such as traffic control and infrastructure improvements. West Springfield’s casino would pay several million dollars to neighboring communities each year on a rotating basis, while Springfield’s provides for a half-million dollars a year, total. Barrow says he doesn’t know if that’ll influence any residents in upcoming casino votes, but…
“It may influence the Commission on how they evaluate the proposals.”
And it’s the gaming commission that will ultimately decide which community gets the casino.