Local pastor speaks out against casinos at council meeting - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Local pastor speaks out against casinos at council meeting

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

While casino supporters think gaming in Springfield would be an economic boost to the city. One local religious leader and his supporters told the city council on Monday night that it would take Springfield down the wrong path.

"It's a drug... it's a drug...," said Ramona Benbow, a Springfield resident who doesn't want to see a Springfield casino.

She joined Springfield Pastor Scott Lively at the city council meeting to have their voices heard.

Lively said a casino would give false hope to people looking for jobs.

"Springfielders shouldn't be trapped into this false promise of jobs, and when the money for those jobs are going to be coming out of their neighbors' pockets," said Lively, president of Abiding Truth Ministries.

While Lively is against a casino, on the same day, Springfield's Chamber of Commerce also announced that they support a casino in the city.

The more than 550 chamber members said among job opportunities, taxes, and revenue, a casino would be too good to pass up.

As of now, four companies are eyeing Springfield for a casino: MGM, Ameristar, Penn National Gaming and Hard Rock International.

The chamber points to the fact that a casino would have to pay around $15 million a year in taxes alone.

For those opposed to a casino at Monday night's meeting, they said they have more concerns than just jobs.

"We have to think about our children, and this is a city with families and children that live here... and to build a casino right in the middle of someone's neighborhood is not in the best interest of our children," said one Springfield resident.

Lively isn't the only religious leader against casinos. The Council of Churches in Springfield also recently spoke out against gaming in the city.

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