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The Massachusetts Gaming Commission – always the sharp thorn in local hackery’s side – has announced that the projected date for the first casino openings in the state won’t be until at least the end of 2015, and possibly the end of 2016, according to a story appearing in the Republican this week.
This schedule would essentially put Springfield’s “fast-track” plans for approving and developing a casino resort in the city on a decidedly slower rail than officials here would probably like. City officials have established a December 14th deadline for the three semi-finalists – Penn National Gaming, MGM Resorts, and Ameristar – to submit their state and city application fees – amounting to $400,000 and $250,000 respectively. Detailed development plans are due to be submitted by the three companies by January 3, 2013.
All of this would be followed at some point – supposedly next spring – by a public referendum to approve any finalized resort plan (or plans?). And to that end, both city officials and the developers themselves have been busy going around the city in a public relations drive to condition the masses into accepting the seeming inevitability of a casino in their midst. (In reality, Springfield has at least one competitor in the resort sweepstakes, that being the Mohegan Sun’s planned resort in Palmer.)
At a Maple High-Six Corners community meeting, for example, all the talk – and some of the reporting – wasn’t about whether a casino would come to the city, but rather where one should be located.
As the Valley Advocate’s Maureen Turner notes in a recent blog post, even the Republican itself has lately taken a hand in feeding into the inevitability mindset with their rather misleading headline on the Maple High-Six Corners meeting – “Maple High Six Corners residents say they favor MGM Resorts casino in Springfield’s South End”. This alleged support was based upon, as the Republican story notes, a show of hands by a few people at the meeting and, naturally, MGM Casino Resort’s own say-so from their local spokesperson – none other than former State Representative Dennis Murphy.
This would be the same Dennis Murphy who, according to Tommy Devine’s “Baystate Objectivist” back in 1999, “committed political suicide” during the doldrum years of the city’s Albano era.
“Once regarded as the fastest rising star in Valley politics,” Devine wrote back then “today Murphy couldn’t get elected dog catcher after he betrayed the voters of his district by dumping them for a lucrative consulting job.”
Well, well. Some things never change.
But really, do we expect anything less in Springfield? Next thing you know, Frankie Keough will be trying to open an Internet café in the city.