Mohegan Sun began their presentation at 7:00 p.m. before a packed house. Their proposal is for a resort-style casino just off the Mass. Pike.
Discussion of a casino in town has been going on since 2009.
“A while, it’s been a couple of years,” said Sandra Girouard.
It’s a conversation that’s far from over for concerned residents.
“Lot’s of questions that are not being answered” said Doloris Norton.
“I didn’t hear nothing that I didn’t already know cause they are not explaining traffic,” said Joel Norton.
Our crew who went to the meeting reports that Mohegan Sun’s proposal would create 2,000 jobs in a variety of fields, including hospitality, engineering, transportation, gaming operations, security, and human resources. The proposal would also draw from multiple markets.
“We believe deeply in this rural model that we know has been the foundation for what the gaming bill was built on and we are the experts at,” said Mitchell Etess, CEO for Mohegan Sun Gaming Authority.
Etess says they are increasing the project investment from $600 million to about $750 million and that the project will include added non-gaming attractions.
However, details like the number of hotel rooms, gaming tables or restaurants are still unknown.
“We are not going to be very specific as to the names of things like that because we are viewing this as a competition and we feel the more information we give the better it is for the competition,” said Etess.
Despite wanting to know more supporters still feel Palmer is the right choice for western Mass.
“We are the only true rural destination proposal in the commonwealth so I think that makes us unique,” said Jennifer Baruffaldi, Citizens for Job & Growth in Palmer.
“It’s a destination resort style casino. The casino in the woods model and people are looking for a safe clean environment to come to,” said Paul Burns, Palmer Town Council.
The company currently spends about $500 million annually on goods and services from local vendors near its Connecticut and Pennsylvania facilities. It also has established strong relationships with a variety of tourist destinations and organizations throughout the region.
A new event series by Mohegan Sun will be launched. Its called, “Working At and Working With Mohegan Sun: A Community Conversation.” Designed to answer questions and provide a foundation of knowledge about employment and vendor relationships with Mohegan Sun, the series will feature current Mohegan Sun employees, human resources representatives and vendors.
The company also announced a new website tonight, www.mohegansunma.com.
Currently, three other companies have expressed hopes in building a casino in the Western half of the state as well. MGM and Penn National Gaming hope to build a casino separately in Springfield and Hard Rock has a proposal for West Springfield.
Only one gaming license will be granted to a developer for the Western half of the state.
Several other developers look to build casinos or slot parlors in Eastern Massachusetts.