Mohegan Sun officials continue to keep most details of their western Massachusetts casino project close to the vest. Top officials from the gaming company addressed a public meeting Monday night in Palmer attended by about 200 people.
Mohegan Sun officials confirmed they are working to develop non-gaming amenities, such as restaurants and entertainment valued at about $150 million , and geared to attract more visitors from out-of-state to the resort casino the company hopes to build near the Massachusetts Turnpike in Palmer. But Mohegan CEO Mitchell Etess would not provide details.
Etess said the project in Palmer would be on a greater scale than what is being proposed by the three other firms competing for the lone western Massachusetts casino license.
MGM Resorts and Penn National Gaming have proposed casinos in downtown Springfield. Hard Rock International wants to build a resort casino on part of the Big E fairgrounds in West Springfield.
Mohegan Sun announced a new name for the western Massachusetts project: “ Mohegan Sun Massachusetts.” The marketing campaign includes a new logo, an updated website and social meeting component. Company officials also said meetings would be scheduled in the spring to talk about employment and vendor relationships.
The scarcity of details frustrated some at the meeting, including Paul Burns, a member of the town council who had hoped Mohegan Sun would finally reveal the full scope of the project it has been pursuing in Palmer since 2009.
Paul Wisnewski of Palmer said the casino officials have yet to disclose a traffic plan to address his chief concern.
Mohegan Sun officials promised that all issues dealing with infrastructure, including, water, sewer , power and definitely traffic would be fully vetted and disclosed well in advance of the voter referendum on the project, which is expected this fall.
Mohegan Sun is farther along in negotiating a host community agreement than any of the other casino developers in western Massachusetts. The Palmer town manager said the negotiations have been going on for months.
The host community agreement must be ratified by voters before the casino developer can seek a license from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.