HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) - In a surprising turn of events, it looks like Holyoke could be rolling the dice on a casino after all.
This after Mayor Alex Morse, once a staunch casino opponent, now says he'll consider it.
Casino supporters in the city are seeing this as a win, but opponents who voted for Morse last year aren't so happy.
It was a blow to even his most loyal supporters.
"Totally unexpected, we feel absolutely betrayed," said Holyoke's John Epstein.
"I can't trust him moving forward," added Anne Thalheimer.
Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse announced Monday a casino could be in Holyoke's future.
"My view on casinos has not changed and neither has my belief that casinos are not the saving grace. The only thing that has changed is my weighing of the option with the alternative," Morse said.
"Shame on you Alex," opponents said from outside his office.
Morse's big announcement was muffled by dozens of protestors who filled city hall.
Morse defended his decision saying a casino in Springfield or any nearby community will impact Holyoke's economy, which is why he wants in on the conversation, and is now considering a proposal from local businessman Eric Suher.
The proposed casino would be at Mountain Park and according to Morse it would be a resort-style casino with a 350 room hotel, an indoor-outdoor ampitheater, a convention center and restaurants.
It was good news to casino supporters including former Mayor Elaine Pluta.
"This just vindicates my position on the issue," Pluta said.
At the same time a shock to those who bought into Morse's anti-casino campaign.
"We voted for him on no casino in Holyoke, period," said Holyoke's Patricia Kmon.
Just 7 months ago on 22News inFocus Morse was still touting his anti-casino agenda.
"Democracy happened on November 8th in the city of Holyoke - I was anti- casino in my campaign and I've continued that into the mayor's office," Morse said back in April.
Now, the message in the Mayor's office has changed, a controversial decision city councilors wonder if they'll support.
"I know it's not going to be easy to get the city council on board," Holyoke City Counselor in Ward 4, Jason Ferreira, said.
Developers have to get their application fee in by January 15th.
Morse said it was important to get the ball rolling so Holyoke had a fair shot at the table.
Morse thinks there will be an unveiling of the proposal sometime in January.