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Mass. Gaming Commission Chair Talks License Competition, Process

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — The competition to build a casino in western Massachusetts is fierce.

Big name casino operators have set their sights on the city.

Thursday, the chairman of the state gaming commission weighed in on the casino battle.

Stephen Crosby stopped by our studios on Liberty Street.

We had a chance to get his thoughts on how the casino process is playing out in Massachusetts and what he thinks about all the competition for a casino in western Massachusetts.

“I think the people of western Massachusetts should be really excited,” says Crosby.

He says competition from casino operators have created this excitement in the region.

“I think the government of Springfield and government of Palmer have done a good job of generating enthusiasm, of showing that they’rte open for business, in showing they believe in the economic benefits that can come to this region from casino gambling,” Crosby adds.

At his weekly meeting this week, the gaming commission voted to start accepting bids from casino operators on October 15th.

WEB EXTRA: Stephen Crosby talks about ongoing casino process on ABC40 News at Noon

Legislation calls for creating up to three casinos in Massachusetts, including one in western Mass.

That means there could be fewer than three but Crosby says all indicators point to the maximum number.

“As a practical matter, given the way the competition is shaping up, given the things we’ve seen, chances are pretty good there will be three casinos eventually in Massachusetts.”

And the more competition, says Chairman Crosby, the better for the entire state.

“If we get competition, then we have a chance to generate the most jobs, the most revenue, the most economic development and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

And with the competition raging on in western Massachusetts, when can we expect a casino to be built?

“We hope that 12 to 15 months from now, we’ll have the licenses issued and then it’s a matter of getting shovels in the ground and the casinos up and running.”

Besides the casino competition in Springfield, Mohegan Sun wants to build a casino in Palmer.

So the casino battle lines are drawn in Springfield.

We enter a whole new phase of the competition.

The big question still remains – where that casino will eventually be located.

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