PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) - The chief executive of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority announced Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut is laying off more than 300 employees and bringing in a new CEO.
For years Mohegan Sun has shown interest in building in Palmer and now some people are wondering if that's still the case.
Mohegan Sun was the first casino developer to show serious interest in building in Western Mass. and residents are staying optimistic that's still the plan.
"It's a cycle, we go through the cycle of good and bad and right now we're in a bad cycle and it'll get better," said Agawam's Susan Vaznis.
In response to the Connecticut layoffs, Palmer Town Councilor at Large Paul Burns is now calling on the gaming company to commit financially to Western Massachusetts.
"I'm hoping it's a sign that they're trying to tighten up operations to compete effectively. I think the clearest thing they could do is come in today and put in that $400,000 and make sure they're clearly demonstrated they're committed to Western Massachusetts," Burns said.
Burns says Mohegan Sun really has to stay in the game in Western Massachusetts to protect its revenue or else it will lose even more business to a competitor.
Hard Rock, MGM, Penn National and Ameristar have all shown interest in building in Springfield.
Under the state's gaming law, only one developer can be awarded a license in Western Massachusetts.
Despite the layoffs, residents are optimistic Mohegan Sun is still a viable candidate.
"Just because they had layoffs there doesn't mean they wouldn't hire people here from town if they put a casino in town," said Palmer's Kenneth Quinn.