Oct. 19, 2011
BOSTON — While the House and Senate have both approved casino gambling bills, state lawmakers have yet to hammer out the details or get a final bill to Governor Deval Patrick. But that hasn’t stopped Mohegan Sun from advancing on the small town of Palmer in Western Massachusetts.
Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority CEO Mitchell Etess told “Greater Boston” guest host Jared Bowen on October 19 that the expansion has been in the works for years. In 2007, the Mohegan Tribe bought a 150-acre parcel of land just off the Mass. Pike.
“We’ve had a storefront in the town of Palmer since 2009,” Etess said. “We’ve had seven community conversations, three open houses at our facility and many, many, many meetings . . . trying to show people we’re transparent and we want to be part of the community.”
The tribe’s plans call for a $600 million resort featuring retail stores, entertainment venues, a casino and a 600-room luxury hotel. The tribe says the new casino would create some 1,200 temporary construction jobs and 3,000 permanent positions — though that’s far fewer than the Mohegan Sun flagship in Connecticut, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this weekend.
The final gambling bill is expected to hit the governor’s desk by the end of the month. If Patrick signs the bill, the tribe is ready to break ground soon after.
“As a company, it’s our job to continue to grow and to expand. And Mass. is one of the next good opportunities [for] expanding gaming,” Etess said.
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