SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - It's a simple yes or no question, but one that could have a huge impact on the future of Springfield: city residents are heading to the polls to approve or reject a plan by MGM Resorts International to build an $800 million resort casino in the South End.
In order to advance their proposal to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, MGM needs a "yes" vote, so that they can apply for the single casino license to be granted for western Massachusetts.
The agreement before the voters would have MGM paying the city more than $25 million per year, and backers, including Mayor Domenic Sarno, say that the project would bring jobs and economic development to an area of the city that was damaged by the tornado two years ago.
But opponents say that casinos prey on low-income and elderly people, as well as gambling addicts. They have charged that a casino would bring more crime and traffic to the city as well.
Turnout is expected to be strong for this vote. Election Commissioner Gladys Oyola told 22News that they already saw a high number of voters in the morning, and they're expecting somewhere around a 30% turnout for the day. That is more than double what they saw during the recent special Senate election, where only 14% of city voters cast ballots.
The polls remain open until 8:00 P.M. Be sure to stay with 22News and WWLP.com through the night; we will have the latest results on air, online, and on the go.
If you are unsure of where you need to go to vote, be sure to check out the City of Springfield's official website.