Officials in Springfield Massachusetts are hoping to wrap up negotiations with would-be casino developers in time for a voter referendum to coincide with the June 25 special election for US Senate. City officials are also considering how to spend the financial windfall they hope a casino brings.
City Councilor James Ferrera, who assured the council a place at the center of the casino debate last year by creating a casino site committee, was re-elected by his colleagues to a rare second consecutive one year term as council president. Ferrera predicted the casino issue would top the council’s agenda in 2013.
The state law that legalized casino gambling in Massachusetts requires voters in a host community to approve the casino development in a referendum. The law permits cities , such as Springfield, to hold either an at-large vote or limit it to just the ward where the casino would be built. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is adamant the voter referendum on whether there should be a casino built in Springfield will be held city-wide.