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West Springfield Reacts to Possible ‘Big E’ Casino Plans

Gambling

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — The Big E in West Springfield is the latest site to be considered for a Western Massachusetts casino.

Hard Rock International has expressed interest in building a casino at the Big E.

West Springfield City Councilor Brian Griffin has received more than 30 calls since the news broke Thursday. many of them concerned about traffic.

He’s talked with Big E officials about those concerns. “They assured me that there was a traffic and engineering study that was taking place and that would be part of any formal presentation to the town,” says Griffin.

The Big E is home to the annual New England state fair that draws a million visitors a year.

Griffin says he’s been assured the fair will go on as scheduled. “Mr. Chase and Mr. Cassidy both assured me that the 17-day fair would not change in the least. It would still exist, nothing would change,” says Griffin.

How would a casino at the Big E impact local businesses?

Across the street at Memo’s restaurant,owner Dominic Pompi weighed in. “I just heard about it this morning and one I couldn’t believe it, not that I’m against the casino but I don’t think across the street or the Springfield area would be a good spot for it, I don’t think it helps any of the businesses around,” says Pompi.

Customers like Mary Holmes can’t see a casino at the Big E. “I was born and bred in West Springfield and I would be very much against it, there’s too much traffic, too much of everything on Memorial Avenue,” says Holmes.

No details of the casino plan were announced or the specific site on the 175 acre Big E property where a casino is being considered.

 

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