Gaming Commission rejects ‘Hamp as “surrounding community”

Photo Courtesy: MGNonline

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – State gaming officials denied Northampton’s request to be designated a “surrounding community” for a proposed Springfield casino.

Northampton is 19 miles from Springfield.  A month ago, the city filed a petition to be granted “surrounding community” status.

“Anyone within a three town radius, all the way around the circle, around Springfield, should be allowed to get some kind of contribution,” said James Senuta in Northampton on Tuesday.

The Mass. Gaming Commission unanimously denied the petition Tuesday morning.

The petition highlighted an impact study which claimed a Springfield casino would mean $8.8 million in lost revenue for Northampton.

“Well I think some people from surrounding areas might go to a casino and then they wouldn’t be spending money at local restaurants and shops.  Because they’d be spending time at a casino and spending their money there; so I think it could have a negative impact.  On the economy of not only Northampton but surrounding areas,” said Rebecca Klaus of Sunderland.

The study also alleged a drop in tax revenue and fewer jobs. Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz says commissioners faulted the city for not studying the positive impact of a casino.

“They say they are going to use some of the existing structures and they are going to provide jobs. And Springfield is really is suffering and could use jobs. We’re leaning towards as a positive thing for Springfield but I don’t see it as a negative for Northampton,” said Ellen Bruno of Springfield.

Under commission regulations, Northampton can’t appeal the decision.  The commission also unanimously rejected the city’s petition for involuntary reimbursement.