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Casino Question Gets Closer in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD,  Mass. (WGGB) — Will Springfield voters cast ballots later this year on one or two casino proposals?

There are two casino operators battling to build a casino in Springfield.

MGM is proposing an $800 million dollar casino in the South End. Penn National Gaming wants to build an $800 million casino in the North End.

On Tuesday, the city council’s casino site sight committee unanimously recommended that Mayor Domenic Sarno choose one casino project rather than forward both to voters.

Mayor Sarno told ABC40 he’s leaning that way.

“The likelihood is we want the strongest and best deal to put forth to the voters of the city of Springfield and to the gaming commission as you move forward,” says Sarno.

The city is still hoping to have the question on the ballot for the June 25th special senate election, but there’s work to be done to meet that deadline.

In the meantime, Mayor Sarno says the city continues to negotiate with both casino operators.

“Now the leverage is there, that these two world-class entities need to compete and put together the best deal for the city of Springfield, the region and to the state,” says Sarno.

On another casino related issue, the mayor traveled to Beacon Hill on Tuesday where he urged lawmakers to approve legislation that would exempt a proposed casino’s land from the state’s prop two and a half tax limiting law.

Mayor Sarno says that would allow Springfield to collect an additional $15 to 20 million in annual property taxes.

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