A Look at Western Massachusetts Licensees & Their Approach to the Surrounding Communities

The ombudsman for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission told local people Wednesday the state encourages communities surrounding a municipality with the potential to host a casino to speak with casino applicants.

“We encourage all surrounding communities to be in touch with applicants,” John Ziemba told the city’s Casino Commission and the Town Council’s Casino Mitigation Committee.

All Surrounding communities of the Binbin “Yo Eleven” companies will be courted in the upcoming months. Let’s look at the Springfield trifecta of Hard Rock, Penn, and MGM:

Hard Rock International and the Bronson Companies would like to develop a $500 million to $800 million resort-style casino at the Eastern States Exposition fairgrounds. Plans call for a 400- to 500-room hotel as well as a parking deck, a performance center and other amenities. Eastern States Exposition Chief Executive Officer Eugene J. Cassidy has said his organization is investigating having a casino on its property because of fears that a casino in Springfield would take entertainment, trade fair and other business away from it. That would threaten the existence of the exposition, he said. Locally, people have expressed concerns that a casino on the fairgrounds, which are off Memorial Avenue, would worsen existing traffic problems, particularly during the Big E annual agricultural fair. The yearly event that New Englanders equate as their “Texas State Fair” is difficult to consider changed by this casino development. I’m sure the Hard Rock’s events will close for the weeks it’s open, and Springfield traffic is bad enough at those times. An asset or a hindrance to New England’s “State Fair?” I say a hindrance. The location is not the best for surrounding communities.

MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming, competing to build a casino in Springfield, plan to make new public presentations on March 11, designed to clarify their traffic plans, entertainment and non-casino components. The presentations are scheduled from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., at City Stage, located at 1 Columbus Center. The presentations, announced by Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, are open to the public.

“It is part of our continuing effort to get as much information out to the public as possible,” said Kevin E. Kennedy, the city’s chief development officer. “Both of these subjects – traffic and entertainment will be integral to a successful application for a gaming commission license.”

The purpose of the presentations is to allow the proposers to present and explain certain refinements in their proposals related to traffic and the non-casino aspects of their proposals developed in response to the city’s requests for clarifications and the updated draft evaluation criteria issued by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, officials said. While the public may attend, the presentation will not involve a question and answer period for the public. The areas targeted, especially entertainment, dining, and tourism, “really have a significant regional impact,” Kennedy said.

According to a prepared statement issued by the mayor’s office, the city expects each proposer to send representatives of their companies to make the presentations in a format that is conducive to the audience in attendance, as well as an audience watching on a live web based video feed and/or television broadcast. The city will arrange for live stream through its website (www.springfield-ma.gov/casino) and has arranged a live feed through MassLive.com and its television partner, CBS 3 Springfield, and it will also be broadcast live on Comcast Channel 293. A recording of the proceedings will be posted to the Springfield Redevelopment Authority webpage. The presentations will be open to the public on a first come basis. CityStage doors will open at 2 p.m. The area seats approximately 400 people. There will be no reserved seating.

Saturday- a look at the Mohegan Massachusetts and an update on the Wampanoag’s bid.
Tomorrow is Foxwoods-MGM Friday.

That’s all for now.

Binbin

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