Rep. Bud Williams calls on Mass. Gaming Commission for western Mass. representation
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - One local state lawmaker is pushing to require that at least one member of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission be from western Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission currently has no members from western Massachusetts. House Bill number 424, proposed by State Representative Bud Williams, would give western Mass. a seat at the table to decide what is best for MGM Springfield and people in our area.
More specifically, the bill states that one member of the gaming commission must be a current full-time resident of Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, or Berkshire Counties.
We spoke with State Representative Bud Williams who introduced this bill. He told Western Mass News that the Gaming Commission needs someone from this area in order to provide oversight over MGM Springfield.
“If I have to raise awareness and ask what’s going on down here, we need someone who lives in the area of western Massachusetts because when they granted the licenses throughout the Commonwealth,” Representative Williams said. “Their licenses were regional – east, and middle, here – so, it makes sense that we would have a representative on a daily basis.”
Representative Williams believes that MGM Springfield has failed to live up to agreements previously made with the city in the casino’s initial planning. He added that a member of the gaming regulatory body from western Massachusetts would be able to bring the citizens’ concerns directly to the casino.
“We have to watch them,” said Representative Williams. “Someone needs to stay on it to make sure they perform at a very high level. They owe it to the folks of western New England, Springfield, Hampden, and Hampshire County.”
We reached out to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for comment on the proposed legislation. They responded by saying, in part:
“The entire MGC, our staff and each of the five commissioners, take seriously their responsibility to represent the interests of the entire Commonwealth. Each year our Community Mitigation Program awards millions of dollars to host and surrounding communities to support communities. Additionally, our annual research agenda maintains a robust commitment to studying impacts on communities, and soon we will be releasing a Springfield Community Driven Research study.”
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission also told us that they will discuss this piece of legislation at their meeting Tuesday.
We also reached out to MGM Springfield for comment on this bill and have yet to hear back from them.
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