With just five days to go until the deadline for casino developers to get an application from the state's gaming commission, it appears another major player may be entering the casino race in Western Mass on Friday.
West Springfield town councilor Brian Griffin has confirmed to CBS 3 that Hard Rock International will announce its proposal for a resort-style casino on the Big E fairgrounds at a red carpet luncheon Friday afternoon.
"I've been assured that it'll be a tremendous event tomorrow to show that they're very interested in our community and the surrounding communities," said Griffin. "And I expect great things tomorrow."
To this point, officials from both Hard Rock and the Eastern States Exposition have remained very tight-lipped about their plans with the CEO of the Big E only disclosing last month that the organization has been investigating whether or not it would be feasible to pursue a casino on its 175 acres of property.
If Hard Rock does enter the race, it will be competing against MGM, Penn National Gaming and Mohegan Sun for the only slot here in Western Mass. But Griffin said while West Springfield would technically be a new player in the race, it wouldn't be starting from scratch.
"One of the things that we've already been doing is we've got a mitigation study committee in the city council already concentrating on the mitigation from the Springfield casinos as a surrounding community," Griffin said. "So we'll hit the ground running because we know what all those aspects are."
And Griffin said officials are prepared to put together a broader based group to help the town move forward.
"We don't want to negate anybody from having a seat at the table. We want the businesses to have a seat at the table, the residents to have a seat at the table, everybody coming together as one for the best project possible," said Griffin.
The invitation-only luncheon is set to begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Storrowtown Carriage House.
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