Final public hearing on the MGM casino in Springfield

Artist's rendering of the proposed MGM Springfield casino, including the now-abandoned plan for a 25-story glass tower on State Street. The elimination of the glass tower is part of what the city council has to vote on.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Gaming Commission held one final public hearing before making its gaming licensing decision on MGM Springfield.

MGM Springfield’s application packet is complete, and after the public hearing Wednesday night, everything will be in the hands of the Gaming Commission.

The public hearing started around 4 o’clock in Springfield and ended after two hours. This was one final chance for supporters and opponents of the casino to tell the Gaming Commission what they think about having a resort casino in Springfield’s South End.

Many people who spoke were against the casino and they wanted the repeal question on the November 2014 ballot.

Michael Egan of Palmer said, “Absolutely anything that’s going to change the culture of this state should be on the ballot. Everybody in the state lives within a 50 mile radius of a casino. Everyone should be allowed to vote. It’s in the Massachusetts constitution.”

According to West Springfield Mayor Ed Sullivan, “If it’s repealed it’s okay. If it goes forward, we are okay. We are ready to move forward too, so that’s not a big concern of ours either way. We’re going to move forward whether the casino comes here or not.”

The last puzzle pieces to MGM Springfield’s application were surrounding community agreements with Longmeadow and West Springfield. Both documents have been signed.

The Gaming Commission is expected to announce its licensing decision some time mid-June. The state’s highest court will announce its opinion on the repeal question early July.

Below is a statement from MGM Springfield President Micheal Mathis:

“The completion of our public hearing in Springfield is another important milestone in the licensing process. We want to thank the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and everyone who participated with their comments and attendance. The transparency and level of public involvement throughout this whole process has been extraordinary. We are proud that the strength of our proposal has been tested and welcomed by this region. Now we are focused on the final stages of the licensing process, and looking forward to the commission’s June 13 licensing determination.”

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