“It does concern me when you wait right until the end and I think it’s kind of a disturbing thing and I’m not sure we had to go through that,” says Paul Burns, Palmer Town Councilor at Large. ”It certainly had raised concerns among my constituents and that was an issue for me and many in Palmer.”
Burns adds, “I think that’s behind us now that they’ve stepped up and paid the fee.”
This afternoon, Mohegan Sun announced they’ve submitted their application for a casino license, along with a non-refundable $400,000 application fee, one day before the state deadline.
But there are some people in Palmer who are worried about what might happen if Mohegan Sun gets that license.
“They laid off over 300 people a few months ago, and they’re having serious financial problems there,” says Emy Shepherd of Quaboag Valley Against Casinos.
Shepherd speculates that instead of bringing in revenue, an in-town casino will tempt Palmer residents to throw their rent and grocery money into slot machines.
Mohegan Sun says a resort-casino would create thousands of jobs and attract gamblers from all over New England.
“In Palmer, we’re going to share the economic developments along a corridor from Worcester to Springfield, and I think that’s a huge impact and I think that’s going to provide for a much greater economic development impact,” says Burns.
Mohegan Sun submitted its application shortly after teaming up with Brigade Capital Management.
Mohegan Sun says its partnership with the New York-based investment firm gives them the strongest financial platform of any company pursuing a gaming license in Massachusetts.
“I think with an announcement like this and their ability to really develop a first-class project with that kind of backing, I think that puts them back in the front runner’s seat,” says Burns.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission says six gaming companies have officially submitted an application to build a casino in Massachusetts. Four of those companies — Mohegan Sun, MGM Springfield, Penn National Gaming and Hard Rock — are competing for one license in Western Mass.