Springfield Residents React To MGM Casino Approval

Now that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has voted to grant MGM Resorts the first casino license in Springfield, residents are weight its potential impact on the city’s future.  New England Public Radio’s Tom Relihan reports.

More than a hundred community members attended the final vote at the Mass Mutual Center in downtown Springfield — a few blocks from where the casino is slated to be built. Springfield resident Jill Monson is among those who expects the project to revive the city’s economy.

“I am very excited. As a homeowner in the city of Springfield I think this is a gift to us,” said Monson.

Others have voiced concerns about traffic problems, construction and increased crime that a casino could bring. Paul Lumpkin of Springfield says he’s optimistic about new jobs and revenue — as long as officials address the potential downsides.

“I hope that there’s a viable plan in place to help people that do end up with issues, whether it’s gambling, whether it’s drug issues,” Lumpkin said.

Though the casino has been approved, MGM won’t be required to pay the 85 million dollar licensing fee right away. The company can wait until the state supreme judicial court decides whether or not to allow a voter referendum to repeal the casino law.