West Springfield Voters Reject Hard Rock’s Casino Proposal

Voters in West Springfield, Massachusetts, rejected a casino proposed by Hard Rock International, leaving two competitors for the sole license to be awarded in the western part of the state.

Some 55 percent of voters opposed the plan, while a proposed slot machine parlor in Plainville, south of Boston, won approval by a 3-to-1 margin, the Boston Globe said yesterday.

“We respect their decision and thank them for welcoming us into their community for the past eight months,” Hard Rock International, owned by the Florida Seminole tribe, said in an e-mailed statement.

With the West Springfield vote, MGM Resorts International and the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority are the only remaining competitors in western Massachusetts. MGM, the largest casino operator on the Las Vegas Strip, is seeking a license in Springfield, while the Uncasville, Connecticut-based Mohegan authority wants to build in Palmer, 19 miles to the east. Two other licenses will be awarded, one each in the central and eastern parts of the state.

In addition to the three casinos, a bill signed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick in 2011 authorized one slot-machine parlor statewide. The proposal that moved forward in Plainville is backed by Wyomissing, Pennsylvania-based Penn National Gaming Inc.

Voters in host communities must approve the plans through local referendum. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has said it could pick a winner in December for the slot facility and early next year for the casinos.

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