Surrounding communities make final pitch to gaming commission - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Surrounding communities make final pitch to gaming commission

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Several communities, including Hampden, Northampton and Longmeadow, along with businesses made their case for a deal with MGM Resorts International in front of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Tuesday.

Entertainment venues like the Majestic Theater and the Eastern States Exposition were also looking for some sort of deal to offset any potential loss of business.

Towns and businesses had a chance to present their case and MGM had an opportunity to respond.

Town leaders in Northampton said they wanted money from MGM because a casino in Springfield would take business away from merchants in their town. MGM said the casino would do the opposite and bring in new business.

Officials in Longmeadow had been asking for nearly $1 million up front, $500,000 a year and an annual increase. Town leaders said MGM is targeting customers in Connecticut and a large portion of that traffic would come through their town. MGM shot down that argument, stating the casino would not add a significant amount of traffic to the area.

Venues like Majestic Theater and the Big E told the commission the casino would make it more difficult for them to book acts. MGM said they would be willing to talk with both parties about promotions.

Gaming commission chairman Stephen Crosby brought up the point that there would be a mitigation fund of $15 million to $20 million dollars available to communities that don't have a surrounding community agreement. The money would be used for unforeseen problems as a result of a casino.

A decision isn't expected for a few weeks.

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