With West Springfield out of the running to host western Massachusetts’ sole casino, supporters of Mohegan Sun’s proposal in Palmer say they’re confident voters will ok their plan. Palmer Town Councilor Paul Burns says he was surprised by West Springfield’s rejection of Hard Rock’s casino project on Tuesday, calling it a challenge to his fellow supporters.
“There’s been a presumption that these questions are going to pass in all these communities. So I think it’s important to see than it can fail, and hopefully it will energize supporters to turn out and cast their votes in favor of the project.”
Palmer residents will vote on their community host agreement on November 5th. If it passes, Palmer and Mohegan Sun will compete against Springfield and its agreement with MGM. Burns says his town’s plan would have far greater economic benefits for western Massachusetts than Springfield’s downtown project.
“A Palmer casino creates a whole different model in terms of how economic development is approached in this region. I think it’s a much larger regional footprint. I think it literally will stretch from Worcester to Springfield in terms of the impact.”
Mohegan Sun and Palmer’s town manager have scheduled a total of 5 information sessions this month and next about the host agreement.
Meanwhile, as communities continue deciding whether to expand gambling in their towns, Governor Deval Patrick says he’s satisfied with the pace of the casino referendum process. Patrick says he was initially concerned the pace was going too slow. But he says he believes the framework is being thoughtfully implemented.
“The Gaming Commission I think has wisely taken their time. Because it is probably more important in the long run that they get it right, than that they get it in a hurry”
The Gaming Commission is not expected to decide which western Massachusetts community will host a casino until early next year. Patrick made his comments Tuesday in Worcester.