Weighing the pros and cons of MA casinos

Health Report: A casino in Springfield will bring a mix of good and bad results

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s impossible to predict exactly how a casino will affect western Massachusetts, but organizations like Partners for a Healthier Community have studied certain risk factors to determine potential impacts of a casino.

MGM Springfield has proposed a plan to transform Springfield’s South End into a resort casino.

Carl Augsberger told 22News he supports MGM’s proposal. He said, “Particularly downtown. You know, I’m not sure what else they are going to do with the South End in the long run. They get an opportunity to clean that up. If not, it’ll be a mess for years to come.”

A health impact report released earlier this year revealed that a casino in Springfield will bring a mix of good and bad results.

On one hand, a casino will create jobs. Ashley Flouton said, “That’s exactly why I’m for it. Right now in today’s economy, I think we can use some jobs around here. Absolutely. That’s why I think the positives outweigh the negatives.”

On the other hand, increased traffic could mean air pollution and accidents. MGM executives have told 22News on many different occasions that their commitment to developing Springfield has never wavered, and it never will. But casino opponents argue, big corporations are often only interested in profits.

Al Cabot from Repeal the Casino Deal said, “If you go to their charter, yes, they are for-profit.” 22News asked Cabot, “Do you believe that the casino developers have an impact mitigation plan that’ll work?” He answered, “We haven’t seen it, to be perfectly honest. I think the word ‘mitigation’ means the problems are coming.”

Springfield’s host agreement with MGM requires MGM to pay for any roadwork necessary to minimize impacts on traffic.

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