West Springfield To Hold Referendum On Proposed Springfield Casino

After rejecting a plan to host a casino in their city last month, West Springfield voters are heading back to the polls again in November to weigh in on Springfield’s casino proposal. The West Springfield Town Council has unanimously approved a non-binding referendum for November 5th, asking voters if they support MGM’s proposed casino for Springfield.

Councilor John Sweeney says the purpose of the vote is to let the Massachusetts Gaming Commission know how west-siders feel about a casino and its potential spill-over effects on neighboring communities.

“I’m not trying to tell them what to do,” Sweeney says.  ”But I think the Gaming Commission should realize that we’re going to get some of the bad as a result of this, and I don’t see us getting any of the good.”

MGM spokesperson Carol Brennan says the company is working with all of Springfield’s neighbors to assess impacts on their communities, including how much they will receive in co-called mitigation funds.

Nevertheless, she says, “It seems shortsighted to ask voters to formulate an opinion prior to having all of the pertinent information, including results from the comprehensive impact studies which are underway.”

There are two other western Massachusetts casino-related votes on November 5th. Longmeadow residents will decide on a citizen petition opposing a Springfield casino at their town meeting. And residents in Palmer will cast a binding vote on Mohegan Sun’s casino proposal for that town.