Springfield casino committee wants one developer on ballot - FOX Carolina 21

Springfield casino committee wants one developer on ballot

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Springfield residents are preparing to vote on a casino ballot question in June, but city leaders only want to give them one choice.

"We were able to ask the tough questions and now it's time to act," said city council President, James Ferrera.

Ferrera says he and his casino committee want to make it clear to Springfield voters on June 25 who the mayor is backing to win the Western Mass casino license.

"We feel that it is important to move forward in a way in which we can move with one company and to ensure that Springfield is successful in this process," Ferrera said.

At a meeting Tuesday night, the committee passed a motion asking the mayor to pick either MGM, who's vying to build in the South End, or Penn National, who wants to build in the North End.

The city's casino consultant, Sid Froelich, says it's a smart decision.

"You run the risk of neither of them getting the required majority vote, number one," Froelich said.

Froelich and his team are currently guiding the mayor and the two developers through the negotiating process.

He expects by the end of it one developer will probably emerge as the right choice.

"Experience tells you one's usually willing to cough up a little bit more money than the other," he said.

Whichever developer does get chosen will face off against Mohegan Sun's proposal in Palmer and Hard Rock in West Springfield.

But a new opponent is now emerging - a proposal for a slots parlor in Worcester.

Froelich says they'll be watching that closely.

"Anytime you run an additional gaming facility close to the other one, neither of them is going to make as much money as they hope to make, so it'll have some negative impact on us," he said.

The casino consultants say that they expect the negotiations to be complete within the next two weeks and they still want to hold the referendum on the same day as the special U.S. Senate election which is June 25.

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