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Paper City Development, City of Chicopee Both Request Extension for Casino Deadline

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BOSTON (WGGB) – Two local developers and a local mayor asked the state for an extension to file a casino application.

Western Massachusetts Development Company, which is also known as Paper City Development, filed a request for an extension Tuesday afternoon with the state’s gaming commission, according to the group’s lawyer Paul Nicolai.

Companies had until 5:00 p.m. Tuesday to file application paperwork necessary for the gaming commission to conduct background checks to be considered for one of the three possible casino licenses.

One of those licenses could be granted to a project in western Massachusetts.

Western Mass. Development is looking for a 30 day extension after the Mass. Special Senate general election, whenever that is scheduled by the state.

The date, Nicolai says, is due in part based on Tuesday night’s vote by the Holyoke City Council, for a non-binding question for a casino project.

Nicolai notes that Western Mass. Development had difficulty getting their application complete because the several changes in direction about talks of a possible casino in Holyoke by Mayor Alex Morse.

Also filing a request for an extension Tuesday was Chiopee Mayor Michael Bissonnette, who tells ABC40 that he too sent a letter to the gaming commission asking for an extension.

Bissonnette says that a casino developer has a downtown Chicopee site “under option” and in order for that firm to have the best chance of finding a casino partner and to be granted a gaming license, he is asking on the city’s behalf for an extension to the application deadline.

“So we would like a fair chance to let these folks be able to bring in a operator and see what develops,” said Michael Bissonnette.

Tha Gaming Commission’s regulations allow them to grant extensions after careful consideration.

“In the first place there is no waiver until we get a formal application and decide to do that,” said Stephen Crosby, Chairman State Gaming Commission.

Crosby says a waiver could delay the license process and is a factor they will consider when they review the requests.

“It’s a sign it’s still competitive and that there were still parties and they are looking around for either host communities or they were trying to line up their investors and get a good solid application,” said Bruce Stebbins, commissioner.

The commission could take up the issue at their next meeting on Thursday.

Good Sam is also requesting an extension according to Elaine B. Driscoll, Director of Communications, Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse released a statement on the application deadline which reads in part:

“I’m very pleased that Paper City Development failed to submit their application by today’s deadline. I expect the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to deny their request for an extension. I don’t see why any gaming operator would come to Holyoke given my position, as it’s a dead issue in Holyoke. ”

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will release details on phase two in the coming months.


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