West Springfield Residents Reject Hard Rock Casino Proposal
Competition for western Massachusetts’ only casino license heated up this week as voters in West Springfield rejected a proposal from Hard Rock International to build a resort casino.
Voters came out 55% to 45% against a host community agreement which would have seen Hard Rock make a minimum annual payment of $18 million to the city if a casino were built.
As a result of the vote there are just two proposals left, one from MGM Resorts for Springfield and one from Mohegan Sun for Palmer.
Springfield residents approved a host community agreement in July and voting will take place in Palmer in November.
After the vote Hard Rock said in a statement that while the vote means the project won’t go ahead, the company respects the community’s decision “and thank them for welcoming us into their community for the past eight months.”
The head of the group No Casino West Springfield, Nathan Bech, has said that the vote sends a message that casino companies “can’t pay their way into a town” if the residents didn’t want it. After the vote Bech said, “we are very exicted and happy that we won.”