Voters in West Springfield are going to the polls today for the latest casino referendum in western Massachusetts.

   Voting was described as steady by election officials and appeared, as of mid-afternoon, to be on pace to reach the 40 percent turnout predicted by the Town Clerk for today’s referendum on Hard Rock’s  proposal to build a resort casino on the grounds of the Eastern States Exposition. Polls are open until 8 p.m.

   Hard Rock New England President Tim Maland said he was a bit nervous about the outcome of today’s referendum.

  Western Massachusetts cities are vying for the state’s lone casino license for that region.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Tim Vercellotti, director of the Western New England University poll and professor of political science, tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that polling shows a demographic split among residents.

Some members of the faith-based community in western Massachusetts are starting to talk about ways to help people whom they believe will be harmed when a casino opens. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is on track to award a casino license to one of three competitors in the region by April 2014. A casino could open in 2016.    WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Bishop Douglas Fisher of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts.


A group has organized to oppose Hard Rock International’s plans to build an $800 million resort casino in West Springfield, Massachusetts.    The casino development is subject to a make or break voter referendum in the town of 30,000 people on September 10th.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Nathan Bech who is spearheading the “No Casino West Springfield” campaign.


The campaign to convince voters in West  Springfield ,Massachusetts to ratify a development deal  for a resort casino was formally launched Tuesday evening.  Officials with Hard Rock Hotels and Casino hosted about 50 people for a cook-out at its newly opened campaign headquarters for the September 10th referendum.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Hard Rock New England President Tim Maland about the pro-casino campaign.


Hard Rock International has struck a rich casino development deal with West Springfield. The agreement, announced last night by West Springfield’s mayor and  Hard Rock officials, ups the ante in the fierce casino competition in western Massachusetts.

Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority

Mohegan Sun, which once had the western Massachusetts casino landscape all to itself, has unveiled a dramatic new design and more  amenities for the project it hopes to build in rural Palmer. Mohegan Sun is facing stiff completion from MGM  Resorts and Hard Rock International for the lone casino license available in western Massachusetts. 


    Scott Harshbarger, the former Massachusetts Attorney General and former president of Common Cause was  the featured speaker at an anti-casino forum in Springfield.  The event, sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts attracted about 300 people to Christ Church Cathedral.  A citywide voter referendum on MGM Resort’s Springfield casino development is on July 16th.    WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Harshbarger


Opponents of casino gambling rallied supporters in Springfield, Massachusetts last night where a citywide referendum on MGM Resorts’ $800 million casino development is less than three weeks away.

      A crowd of about 300 people sat in the sweltering hot sanctuary of Christ Church Cathedral and applauded as speakers denounced what they said were the false promises of the gambling industry.

A group working to defeat next month’s casino referendum in Springfield Massachusetts is holding a campaign kickoff event this Wednesday.  One of the scheduled speakers is Robert Steele. He is a former Congressman from Connecticut who witnessed the growth of casino gambling in Connecticut in the 1990s. He is the author of the novel, The Curse: Big-time Gambling’s Seduction of a Small New England Town.