PALMER, Mass. (WGGB) — Officials with Mohegan Sun have signed a host agreement with Palmer to bring a casino to the town.
The agreement was signed late Thursday morning with the town receiving close to $3 million up front and $16 million every year if the deal goes through.
“More than four years ago we began building a relationship with the great community of Palmer. Today I am happy to say we have forged a genuine partnership to bring jobs, economic growth and a new visitor economy to this town and the entire region,” said Mitchel Etess, Chief Executive Officer of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. “We are confident this host community agreement, combined with our nearly $1 billion proposal, will deliver the very best for Palmer and Massachusetts.”
Mohegan Sun has proposed a nearly one billion dollar casino resort complex off the Massachusetts Turnpike, which would feature premier gaming and resort amenities, two hotels, a 70,000 square foot adventure-themed water park and 300,000 square feet of entertainment, dining and fashion retail options.
The agreement will go before Palmer voters later this year.
The state’s gambling law requires agreements that typically spell out how much revenue a developer will provide to a city or town hosting a casino, along with traffic improvements or other conditions. The additional infrastructure improvements will include an estimated $23 million for expansion and improvements to existing roads, sewer and water systems in Palmer, including: enhancements to the water distribution system of Palmer Fire and Water District 1 and its neighboring water districts; improvements to the municipal sewer system; and road improvements and traffic mitigation including substantial improvements to the Exit 8 entrance and exit interchange of the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Local Businesses are hopeful the casino would help them,” Mohegan Sun says they will do a lot of business in the community so the small businesses in this town have the opportunity to actually succeed and interact with them and make some money,” says Robert Young, of Palmer Businesses for a Palmer Casino.
Local residents like Jennifer Baruffaldi call this a milestone day,” With jobs and revenue, it’s a great opportunity for the town, for the region,” says Baruffaldi.
Mohegan Sun is competing with proposals in Springfield and West Springfield for the sole resort casino license available in Western Massachusetts.
The host-community agreement will now go to the town council for their approval. If it’s approved, the council will be asked to set a referendum vote for Palmer residents.