Anti-casino group celebrates West Springfield vote - WNEM TV 5

Anti-casino group celebrates West Springfield vote

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WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Hundreds of West Springfield residents celebrated what they considered to be a major victory with Tuesday night's vote.

A group in opposition of a casino is now celebrating that one will not be coming to their town.

Those residents packed into the Hofbrauhaus Restaurant celebrating over Tuesday night's vote to strike down Hard Rock International's plans to build a casino on the Big E grounds.

"For the people that voted no, thank you, thank you, thank you," said West Springfield resident Kate Sady.

"It's nice to feel a sense of relief being assured that the casino cannot come into town here," said West Springfield resident David Coyne.

"I'd almost like to shout right now. This is a huge victory. It really is," said Pastor Chuck Wymer of the Council Churches of Western Mass.

According West Springfield town clerk, 55 percent of voters said no to the town's host community agreement with Hard Rock, while 45 percent voted yes.

One anti-casino group helped play a role in blocking Hard Rock from building in West Springfield. No Casino West Springfield Inc. went door to door to get their message out that West Springfield wasn't a town for a casino.

"The people have spoken that we don't want this in our city," said Nathan Bech, president of No Casino West Springfield Inc.

Bech said he wasn't sure how the vote was going to swing.

"I honestly didn't know and you never know these things until the day of the vote," said Bech.

But now Bech said it was the hard work of the residents of West Springfield who voiced what they wanted.

"We firmly stood for what we believed in and that matters. This our town and we kept this gambling out of our town," continued Bech.

With this vote taking Hard Rock out of the race for a Western Mass casino, that leaves MGM in Springfield and Mohegan Sun in Palmer vying for the lone Western Mass casino license.

Springfield already voted to accept their host community agreement back in July.

Palmer will vote on theirs on Nov. 5.

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