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A casino may still be in Chicopee's future

Jan. 18, 2013
<b>The owner of the Cabotville Industrial Park has entered into an agreement with a developer to seek a casino company for the site.</b><br>Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs

The owner of the Cabotville Industrial Park has entered into an agreement with a developer to seek a casino company for the site.
Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs

By G. Michael Dobbs


CHICOPEE — Is there a casino in Chicopee's future? Perhaps, if the Massachusetts Gaming Commission grants the extension filed by Mayor Michael Bissonnette.

Bissonnette explained to Reminder Publications the owner of the Cabotville complex has entered into a formal agreement with a developer he declined to name at this time.

The mayor said the casino legislation gives the Gaming Commission the ability to grant an extension. The deadline for developers to file a $400,000 fee that would qualify them to be considered by the commission was Jan. 15. The applicants that met that deadline were MGM Springfield, Penn National Gaming, Inc., Plainridge Racecourse, Hard Rock MA, Wynn, LLC, Mohegan Sun, Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, Raynham Park, Mass Gaming & Entertainment, LLC, PPE Casino Resorts and Crossroads Massachusetts, LLC.

Paper City LLC, the company that sought a casino at Wyckoff County Club, was not among those that met the deadline. Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, on vacation in Puerto Rico, issued the following statement: "I'm very pleased that Paper City Development failed to submit their application by today's deadline. I expect the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to deny their request for an extension. I urge the Commission to abide by their own timeline and resist playing politics with Paper City Development. They had their opportunity to put down the $400,000 and they missed it. I don't see why any gaming operator would come to Holyoke given my position, as it's a dead issue in Holyoke. Furthermore, any attempt by the Holyoke City Council to put a non-binding question on the ballot in regards to casinos will not have my support. While our surrounding cities spend their time and energy on bringing a hopeless industry to their communities, Holyoke will continue to make great progress in economic development, education, and public safety. Holyoke is poised to become the art and innovation capital of Western Massachusetts — and today's news only asserts that vision."

Bissonnette said that if the extension is granted the unnamed developer would seek a casino company as a partner.

"This is an interesting location. It has great potential," he said.

This is not the first time that Cabotville had been considered as a casino site, Bissonnette confirmed. Last year, there was a tentative deal that fell through.

The mayor expects to hear from the Gaming Commission next week about his request. He emphasized that if the commission grants the request, "the people of Chicopee will get the last word [about a casino]."

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