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Western Mass. Entertainment Venues Concerned Over Springfield Casino

mgm-NEW(BOSTON, Mass.) (WGGB)–Springfield’s proposed MGM casino and its potential impact on several Western Massachusetts communities was the focus of a state gaming commission hearing on Tuesday.

Northampton said the casino would hurt the city economically as a retail and dining destination as the casino would take visitors away from Northampton.

Longmeadow and Hampden said traffic from the casino would impact them negatively.

But MGM says there would be no significant impact to any of those communities.

Then two entertainment venues asked the commission to classify them as live entertainment venues that could be affected by the casino.

First was  the Majestic Theater in West Springfield,”Our audience has told us that we will be impacted by MGM’s support, particularly  City Stage and that’s given us some concern,” says Danny Eaton, Producing Director of the Majestic Theater.

MGM disagrees,”I think part of this is understanding how we can compliment each other, we’re not competitive with a local playhouse for example, I think we’ll be a great source of customers to them,” says Mike Mathis, MGM’s V.P. for Global Gaming.

The Big E also voiced concern to the commission about the nearby proposed casino by drawing big name entertainment away from the Big E,”When it comes to bringing entertainment to the region they’ve got the capacity to put us out of business,” says Eugene Cassidy, President and CEO of the Big E.

MGM says it’s willing to sit down and talk,”I think both sides depending on the issue will try to resolve it voluntarily, so we don’t force the commission to have to make a ruling,” says Mike Mathis.

The gaming commission will now go over  the information that was heard and make their decision on whether these communities will be granted surrounding community status by February 6th.


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