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Holyoke Mayor-Elect and City Councilors React To Casino Bill

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB) — Casino gambling passed yet another hurdle.  The House and Senate quickly passed the final version of the bill Tuesday.  The Senate will take one final procedural vote Wednesday before it moves to Governor Deval Patrick’s desk for his signature.  The bill allows for three resort style casinos and a slot parlor in the state.

The Paper City is one of several Western Massachusetts communities with developers lobbying for the one casino license that the bill allows for in this region.

Holyoke’s City Council President Joe McGiverin says he’s not for or against casinos.  Instead, he says he is for improving Holyoke.

“I don’t see casinos as much different than another industry coming in.  The gambling industry is one of the few industries in this country that have the cash dollars and capital to be able to develop,” said McGiverin.

For other City Councilors like James Leahy it’s a wait and see to find out if and where the casino would be build.

“Hypothetically if they come in and said we are gona revitalize the downtown area we are gona put it in you know a multimillion dollar building and jobs you know that’s something I would consider,” said Leahy.

Mayor Elect Alex Morse says he won’t be lobbying to bring a casino to the city.  However, he says if a developer in Holyoke receives the casino license he’ll work with them to make sure the project favors the city.

Morse would rather see other innovative industries develop to help improve Holyoke.

“Casino coming to Holyoke is not my priority.  I just finished a meeting with some entrepreneurs who are interested in bringing technology to the city.  That’s the type of economy I want to focus on.  We still have a long way to go,” said Morse.

Both Morse and McGiverin stress the ultimate decision will really on the voters.  If a developer in the city gets the license voters will have to pass a referendum question allowing the project to move forward.

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