SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Now that Ameristar has taken itself out of Springfield's casino competition, that leaves just two downtown proposals.
Both Penn National's proposal with Peter Picknelly in the North End, and MGM's proposal with Paul Picknelly in the South End are $800 million resort casinos. Both promise to be the centerpiece of downtown revitalization, and both draw strong feelings from people in the Springfield area.
"I think it could do both good and bad" Kevin Atkinson of Agawam said.
Unlike Ameristar's dropped plans in East Springfield, the two remaining proposals both pose certain problems the city council will have to work through, such as zoning issues.
The City Council's first move will be to decide whether the casino referendum should be a city-wide vote or just a ward-specific vote. That decision has been delayed before, but is expected at the council meeting December 17.
"It does affect the whole city even though it would be located in one certain area," Atkinson said, adding that he supports a city-wide vote.
Ameristar's exit comes as there are other big changes happening in the effort to get western Massachusetts' only available casino license. Holyoke is a new contender in the process, with two possible casino plans. Palmer is also still in the running with a proposal by Mohegan Sun.