BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has decided against Northampton’s and Hampden’s petitions’ to be designated a surrounding community to MGM’s proposed Springfield casino, while Longmeadow has been designated as a surrounding community.
During their weekly meeting on Tuesday, the Gaming Commission considered Northampton first, and denied it surrounding community status by a 5-0 vote. The commission also denied Hampden surrounding community status by a 4-0 vote. The commission then approved Longmeadow’s petition by a 4-0 vote.
This means that Longmeadow and MGM must reach an agreement either through negotiating or through arbitration with 30 days that pays Longmeadow some sort of money for potential negative impacts of a casino. The conversation centered around increased traffic on Route 5. Northampton and Hampden will not be eligible to get money directly from MGM, but could receive money from the state down the line.
Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby told 22News, “The Commissioners simply felt that there was no evidence that there was going to be a significant negative impact, in fact if anything there’s evidence that suggests there might be a positive impact.”
The Gaming Commission made its decisions on the three surrounding community petitions but the Eastern States Exposition has to wait another week to find out if it will be designated an impacted live entertainment venue.
Eugene Cassidy, the Eastern States Exposition CEO, said “I hope at this point that the attorney’s for MGM have heard the message from the commissioners and they at least try to make progress with us. As I’ve said, they have not returned my calls.”
MGM did reach a deal with the Majestic Theater in West Springfield. MGM has already agreed to surrounding community agreements with Agawam, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Ludlow, Wilbraham and Holyoke. MGM has also designated West Springfield as a surrounding community, but they have not yet reached an agreement.
MGM has agreed to pay Chicopee and Agawam $125,000 up front and at least $150,000 per year for 15 years. MGM has agreed to pay Ludlow, East Longmeadow and Wilbraham $50,000 up front and at least $100,000 per year for 15 years. MGM has agreed to pay Holyoke $50,000 up front and $85,000 per year for 15 years.