Springfield City Council president meets with anti-casino group - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Springfield City Council president meets with anti-casino group

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

The Springfield based anti-casino group Citizens Against Casino Gaming sent requests to every city councilor, hoping to debate casino issues.

Wednesday night, City Council President James Ferrera met with them to hear their concerns about the possibility of a casino coming to Springfield.

"What if a vote fails next Tuesday? What if it succeeds but MGM is not selected nine months from now in April?" asked the chairman of Citizens Against Casino Gaming, Michael Kogut.

With less than a week until the city votes on whether they want MGM to build an $800 million casino in the city, his group finally got the face time they've been requesting from an elected official.

"I give Councilor Ferrera a lot of credit. Unlike all the other councilors, he was willing to step up," Kogut said.

Ferrera sat in front of two dozen people who oppose the casino, defending his views.

"I intend to vote for MGM on Tuesday; however, I think it's critically important that as an elected official to come out here and present the facts."

Ferrera says he wasn't expecting to change anyone's mind, but he justified why he'll be voting yes next week.

"The amount of jobs, the economic development that is going to be created."

If MGM doesn't get a majority vote next Tuesday, the state gaming commission will not consider their application to build a casino in Western Mass.

Kogut says he's cautiously optimistic the majority will vote no.

"We have a very good feeling that the opponents are motivated to vote."

But some people, like Fran Allard and her husband, went to the meeting Wednesday night because they're still not sure how they're going to vote.

"I have my own opinion whether or not it will be good for the city. In one way yes, in one way no," Allard said.

But if it is a yes vote, Kogut says work for the Citizens Against Casino Gaming has only just begun.

"We will continue to fight this," he said.

Voters head to the polls in Springfield on Tuesday to decide yes or no on MGM's casino proposal.

If it passes, MGM moves forward in the process.

If it fails, the gaming commission will not consider their application.

Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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