Springfield residents speak out against a casino - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Springfield residents speak out against a casino

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

More casino talks Monday night as Springfield residents met to discuss the effects one could have on the city.

Springfield is one of three Western Mass towns hoping to bring a casino to the Pioneer Valley.

Residents said if it were up to them, they wouldn't allow one in the City of Homes.

"An urban destination like Springfield is not the right place. It's going to increase our urban problems," said Michael Kogut, chairman of Citizens Against Casino Gaming.

Residents gathered in the East Springfield neighborhood in opposition of a casino making it's home here in the city.

"I'm born and raised in Springfield. I love this city and I'd hate to see it die," said resident Marie Koski.

Two major casino companies are vying to build in downtown Springfield.

Penn National is looking to build in the North End and MGM Resort has their eye on the South End.

Both are expected to bring a complete revitalization to the area, thousands of jobs, and increase revenue for the city.

But residents said those are just temporary fixes and is not what Springfield needs to get back on it's feet.

"We have low property values, high dropout rates, and we are one of the poorest cities in New England. We don't believe a casino is going to help that at all," said Kogurt.

Pat Geagan is an avid casino goer who says he likes to gamble, but also feels Springfield just isn't right place to host one.

"From first hand I've seen from Atlantic City, the businesses in the area really don't have any following from the casino goers," said Geagan.

Ameristar Casinos was another contender to bring a casino to the East Springfield neighborhood, but the plans were demolished when the company backed out in November.

Although a casino will not be built in their backyard, those who live in the neighborhood said there is no place for one in any section of the city.

"No, I wouldn't want to be a 'not in my neighborhood' kind of person. I'm opposed to the entire idea."

The two other companies in the race for a Western Mass casino are Mohegan Sun in Palmer and Hard Rock International in West Springfield.

Only one of the four will be chosen to host a casino.

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