PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) - A community meeting to discuss the process of bringing casinos to Massachusetts took place in Palmer Thursday night.
The state's Gaming Commission answered questions about who will be granted the expanded gaming license.
Stephen Crosby, Chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission wants communities to know a casino is a complicated business. He spoke and answered questions to a crowd in Palmer.
The whole expanded gaming license process will take over a year.
Palmer is one of two communities in Western Mass that have hopes of having a casino.
While the competition may stir emotions, the Gaming Commission actually wants casinos to compete.
"They are forced to put their best foot forward, put the most money on the table, make sure the most local jobs will be guaranteed and so on and so forth, competition will do that, you'll see what's happening out here in Western Mass," said Crosby.
The crowd of around 50 appeared to be mostly in favor of a casino but it won't solely be up to the residents.
Mohegan Sun is the developer that has expressed interest in building a casino in Palmer.
Mohegan Sun Vice President Paul Brody said that they've conducted their own survey and found that about 60% of Palmer residents say they would want a casino there. But the meeting showed that there are a number of variables and factors that have to be examined before the proposal even makes it to the Gaming Commission.
That also includes research into how the community and surrounding communities will be affected.
"I do think there will be an impact in all the communities, educationally, business wise, I do think there will be a big impact and there has to be a lot of consideration when looking at those things and all the towns that are surrounding certainly," said Mary Jane Rickson who is from nearby Warren.
Ultimately, the Gaming Commission will make the final decision as to which city or town gets the license. The most important factor will be about which developer will bring jobs and revenue to Massachusetts.