Gaming commissioner visits Palmer, residents hopeful for casino - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Gaming commissioner visits Palmer, residents hopeful for casino

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Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby stood before a crowd of around 50 Palmer residents Thursday night who hope to see Mohegan Sun get the sole casino license slated for Western MA.

It's a town full of people who have wanted a casino there for years.

"For me it's all about the jobs," said Larry Jasak, a Palmer resident.

Crosby called the Western MA bidding the most competitive in the state.

"We thought it was important to be here, they wanted us to come out, and if they're in favor of a casino, more power to them," he said.

Mohegan Sun has had ties to Palmer for years and even has a community office in the center of town.

They say they're committed to their idea and the community.

Earlier this week they reaffirmed their plans for Palmer.

Some residents say they know the commitment is there, they just hope there's money to back it up.

"You know we've had our concerns about Mohegan Sun we've always had a little bit of concerns. We had our concerns that they didn't want to come up with that $400,000," Jasak said.

Mohegan officials have said that they are waiting for their formal submission to pay the $400,000 fee to apply.

But some people are still worried about the company's recent layoffs just over the border in Connecticut.

In recent weeks, Mohegan has laid off 300 workers and even replaced their CEO.

Mohegan Sun reps at Thursday night's meeting say each of their properties has to be handled on a local level and the lay-offs are actually in the best interest of Palmer.

"By being wise and thoughtful at each site, it creates the needed capital to do what we want to here in Palmer," said Mohegan Sun Vice President Paul Brody.

"We've missed out on some things and this is just very important," Jasak said.

Interested casino developers have until Jan. 15 to submit their background checks and $400,000 application fee.

Mohegan Sun officials say they will announce future plans by the end of the year.

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