(PALMER), (Mass.) WGGB-It’s Palmer’s Turn to step to the plate in the race for a casino license in western Massachusetts.
On Tuesday, West Springfield voters said “no” to Hard Rock.
Springfield voters have already okayed an MGM proposal.
Now all eyes turn to Palmer to see if they’ll go along with Mohegan Sun’s casino plans.
West Springfield’s “no” vote to Hard Rock’s casino proposal stunned casino supporters in West Side,”Shocked, disappointed, devastated,” says casino supporter Tom Caruso.
But the shock and disappointment of West Side’s casino supporters gave way to optimism of casino supporters in Palmer,”It’s very important, we have to get our message out, and I believe the people are very supportive of it right now because of the benefits,” says William Byrnes.
Byrnes is no stranger to the casino debate in Palmer.
Back in 1996, he was one of the leaders of the effort which resulted in a successful referendum vote in Palmer for a casino,”We formed a committee and we were successful in a referendum vote and that was back when the Hollywood casino was involved,” says Byrnes.
Even though Palmer voters said yes to a casino, it was never built.
Now Palmer is in the running once again .
Voters will decide again on November 5th.
This time around Bill Byrnes feels they’ll say yes to a casino by an even bigger margin,”I believe it’s a lot stronger due to the fact that we lost a lot of factories since then and people you know are unemployed,” says Byrnes.
So now the effort begins in earnest in Palmer for casino supporters to get out the vote, and show the Massachusetts Gaming Commission that Palmer residents want the casino more than Springfield.