West Springfield Residents Prepare for Casino Vote: ‘It Would Be a Big Difference’

Residents of West Springfield, Massachusetts, will vote Tuesday on whether Hard Rock International will take the next step with its proposed $800 million casino.

Wentworth Estates is a 15-acre condominium complex adjacent to some of the most heavily traveled roads in the city. It’s off Memorial Drive at the edge of the Big E . With the fair not yet underway, it’s relatively quiet. And that’s how Christine Smola likes it.

“It would be a big difference,” Smola says. “I think it would bring a lot more traffic and probably a lot more fighting. I mean I’m not downing it. It would probably be fun because we have nothing to do around here.”

Across the street, resident Gladys Henry, knows exactly what she wants

“Say yes for the casino!” Henry says. “You know, Hard Rock!”

Henry is wearing a bright blue “Say Yes” T-shirt she picked up at a job fair hosted last month by Hard Rock. She says a casino will be good for West Springfield’s economy, and for her property value.

“It will do good for my apartment – my building that me and my husband bought it. I could sell it or I could rent it out,” Henry says.

Henry says a casino would also provide jobs for her kids, who are in their twenties, and live in the area.

If a majority of West Springfield voters agree with her, it’s still up to state officials to pick which western Massachusetts community gets a casino license.