PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) - The western Massachusetts casino competition is heating up.
It's down to Springfield and Palmer after West Springfield voters rejected Hard Rock's casino proposal.
Palmer still has to vote.
Passing a host community referendum is only part of this process and, as this is going on, the Gaming Commission is also conducting background checks on the companies.
However, one Palmer town councilor says right now they're just focused on the vote.
West Springfield became the first Western Massachusetts community to reject a casino proposal since this process began.
"It's a little bit of a wake-up call, (now we have) to make sure the proponents of the casino get out and turn out our supporters in the Palmer election," said Palmer Town Councilor Paul Burns.
Next up to vote is Palmer, a community that has supported the idea of a casino in the past, but after the vote in West Springfield was rejected, residents realized you can never be sure.
"I do think Palmer is a little different in that we've already been tested, we've passed a referendum, West Springfield had never done this before," Burns said.
West Springfield casino opponents told 22News they're ready to help the "No vote" effort in Palmer. That comes as welcome news to those opposed to the idea of a Palmer casino.
"Yes, I am hopeful because there are only a couple of roads in this area that would bring you to Palmer or West Springfield, which is Rt. 20 and that would greatly impact our way of life and we just don't want that," said Brimfield's Anna Ozolins.
Palmer voters decide the Casino Question for their town November 5th. Despite how past votes have gone in town, this is the only one the Gaming Commission will consider.
"Palmer has been pretty adamant about how much they want it. I mean there is a good spot for it I think, I guess we just have to wait and see," said Monson's Jeff Hope.
It's important to note, if Palmer's vote fails, it doesn't mean the casino automatically goes to MGM.
The Gaming Commission makes the final decision on whether a company is suitable and if they find none of them are, the process would start over again.