SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - We know about Springfield and Palmer, possibly West Springfield, and now, one other city could potentially get into the casino competition.
22News has new information on the battle for the Western Massachusetts gaming license.
January 15 is the deadline to apply for a gaming license in the state. That is when we will officially know which casino developers are applying, but there is still a lot of closed door talks going on.
"There's going to be a lot more certainty when January 15th and the actual proposals come forward", says Pioneer Valley Planning Commission Executive Director Tim Brennan.
Penn National in Springfield's North End and MGM in Springfield's South End are the only two casino developers interested in Western Massachusetts to pay the state their $400,000 application fee. January 15th is the deadline for that, as well.
"We want to make sure we continue a competition. That's the way we're going to get the best deal possible for the city", says Springfield's Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy.
The dark horse in this casino competition is Chicopee. Chicopee Mayor Michael Bissonnette has been open to exploring the possibility of a casino in his city since the process began. Mayor Bissonnette sent 22News this statement:
"Chicopee continues to have interest from casino developers over three potential sites. However, there will be nothing to announce unless a specific plan is brought forward by a developer capable of adequately financing the project. Right now it is all speculation."
West Springfield is also in talks to bring a casino to the Eastern States Exposition. Members of the Big E Board of Directors told Town Councilor Brian Griffin there is already a traffic study taking place.
"You have to realize they have 1.4 million visitors in a 17-day period. I don't see traffic tie-ups all over the place", says Griffin.
Griffin says all the talks are very premature. Griffin also says if a casino came to the Eastern States Exposition, the Big E would still happen.
"They assured me the 17 day fair is not going away", says Griffin.
22News left multiple messages on Monday with West Springfield mayor Greg Neffinger. At the time this story posted, he had not returned any phone calls.