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Mohegan Sun Adds Amenities To Western Mass. Casino Project

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Mohegan Sun officials continue to keep most details of their western Massachusetts casino project close to the vest.  Top officials from the gaming company addressed a public meeting Monday night  in Palmer attended by about 200 people. 

Mohegan Sun officials confirmed they are working to develop  non-gaming amenities, such as restaurants and entertainment valued at about $150 million , and geared to attract more visitors from out-of-state to the resort casino the company hopes to build near the Massachusetts Turnpike in Palmer. But Mohegan CEO Mitchell Etess would not provide details.

Etess said the project in Palmer would be on a greater scale than what is being proposed by the three other firms competing for the  lone western Massachusetts casino license.

MGM Resorts and Penn National Gaming have proposed casinos in downtown Springfield.  Hard Rock International  wants to build a resort casino on part of the Big E fairgrounds in West Springfield.

Mohegan Sun announced a new  name for the western Massachusetts project: “ Mohegan Sun Massachusetts.” The marketing campaign includes a new  logo, an  updated website and social meeting component.  Company officials also said meetings would be scheduled in the spring to talk about employment and vendor relationships.

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Credit WAMC
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Mohegan Sun CEO Mitchell Etess addresses a public forum in Palmer MA

      The scarcity of details frustrated some at the meeting, including Paul Burns, a member of the town council  who had hoped Mohegan Sun would finally reveal the full scope of the project it has been pursuing in Palmer since 2009. 

Paul Wisnewski of Palmer said the casino officials have yet to disclose a traffic plan to address his chief concern.

Mohegan Sun officials promised that all issues dealing with infrastructure, including, water, sewer , power and definitely traffic would be fully vetted and disclosed well in advance of  the voter referendum on the project, which is expected this fall.

Mohegan Sun is farther along in negotiating a host community agreement  than any of the other casino developers in western Massachusetts.  The Palmer town manager said the negotiations have been going on for months.

The host community agreement must be ratified by voters before the casino developer can seek a license from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.
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