Gaming Commission excited about Western MA interest - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Gaming Commission excited about Western MA interest

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

It has been a big week for casino talk in Western Massachusetts.

Palmer residents got to hear from Mohegan Sun and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, while Springfield learned that Ameristar, MGM, and Penn National are the three who will fight over a spot in the city.

"The more competition you have, the better deal you can drive for the residents, taxpayers and business community of the city," said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

But that competition was something that caught the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and its chairman, Stephen Crosby, off guard.

"It was never really anticipated that there would be multiple bidders within a city," Crosby told CBS 3. "We just never really thought about it. We had to figure out how to deal with it."

With the commission and Springfield back on the same page, Crosby is now focused on the excitement that a potential casino is generating in the area.

"What is happening in Western Mass is exactly what was supposed to be happening," said Crosby. "We had major companies with major proposals, major job investment and major capital investment to be the selected party."

Sarno said there is a reason those major companies are looking at his city.

"I have not dictated that it is going to go here or there," Sarno stated. "I said we want you here. We want to listen and work with you. We want to make sure you have the honor of living and working in the city of Springfield."

Crosby said the commission understands that people want to move quickly, but they will not sacrifice the integrity of the casino selection process.

"Once it passed, this head of steam has really exploded because there was all of this pressure over 20 years that we have been talking about this," said Crosby. "We expected people to want us to move quickly.  We are sympathetic to that."

This Wednesday, the gaming commission will start accepting applications for casinos interested in the state.

Crosby said it will take three to six months to complete background checks before moving on to the commission's second phase in the selection process.

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