SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Last week, 22News brought you a story about the house budget proposal that has a provision allowing casinos to serve alcohol until 4:00 a.m. to customers, as long as they’re gambling. The only hours alcohol would not be allowed is between 4:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.
“I would still come downtown and maybe go to the casino later,” said Jessica Ortiz of Boston. “It’s a different atmosphere, so I would prefer to come downtown and hang out; especially if I’m with friends and family.”
22News went to Nadim’s Mediterranean Grill in Springfield, located just a few blocks from MGM’s casino development complex. They’re a restaurant, but also a bar. Owner Nadim Kashouh said, “If you ask me today, ‘Am I going to be open until 4:00 a.m.?’ I would say probably not.” But he added, “I think everybody should be on the same playing level. It should be even.”
The owner of Theodore’s in Springfield, Keith Makarowski, told 22News he’s happy with the way things are now. “I’d rather keep it at 2:00 a.m. across the board. As far as the gambling goes, they have a monopoly on that, where the rest of us don’t have that. But, it should be more of an even playing field, as far as the things that everyone else does around the state.”
The proposal would allow casinos an additional two hours of serving time, while bars and restaurants have to stop pouring at 2:00 a.m. “And say that they’re excluded from all the other rules, including happy hour, bingo, gambling and every other little possible thing, maybe smoking,” said William Stetson, the owner of the Rumbleseat Bar & Grill and the Collegian Court Restaurant, both located in Chicopee.
State Senate President Stanley Rosennberg said he has no interest in the change, one change in the casino law would lead to others and then the state may eventually lose control of the industry.
Right now, the Plainridge Park Casino is the only one in Massachusetts with an alcohol license.