SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - The process of bringing a casino to western Massachusetts may be speeding up.
The state's new casino commission will hold its first public meeting Tuesday at UMass-Boston . The five member panel will award the three coveted casino licenses.
22News caught up with House Speaker Robert DeLeo at a fundraising event Monday in Springfield.
Deleo said he's pleased with how many bids are out there. "I'm very pleased in the sense of what I've heard that there's a lot of interest out there throughout the state for these facilities, so the argument that Massachusetts because of Connecticut may not be of interest to folks is untrue."
Deleo estimates they will award the licenses by next year and start construction on the casinos by the following year.
Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke and Palmer are all in the running for a casino. Most are being backed by major casino developers including names like Hard Rock, and Mohegan Sun. Brimfield's developer, MGM, backed out citing construction issues.
Stephen Crosby, Gayle Cameron, Enrique Zuniga, Bruce Stebbins and James McHugh sit on the five member state gaming commission.
They will award the licenses and oversee development.
The agenda for Tuesday's meeting includes a number of administrative matters, including the election of a secretary and treasurer, the hiring of staff and the choosing of a law firm and outside gaming consultant.
The commissioners are also expected to adopt a mission statement and discuss several other matters, including ethics rules.