No-Casino Springfield group collects thousands of signatures - WNEM TV 5

No-Casino Springfield group collects thousands of signatures

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Residents in Longmeadow against a Springfield casino have collected thousands of signatures in surrounding towns.

They're trying to send a strong message to the state Gaming Commission.

MGM is the only Western Mass casino proposal left standing after two others were struck down by voters.

Now the casino opponents in Longmeadow along with the group No-Casino Springfield and the state-wide group Repeal the Casino Deal are rallying to get the numbers needed to get an anti-casino measure on the 2014 ballot.

They need 68,911 to get the measure on the ballot.

They say they have more than enough and thousands have come from people right here in Western Mass.

"That's all to get the necessary signatures for a state-wide referendum on scrapping the casino legislation on altogether," said Alex grant, a member of the Longmeadow select board.

So far in his town alone he and fellow casino opponents have collected just over 1,200 signatures.

And they've gone into neighboring towns as well.

In Springfield they've collected 1,490, in West Springfield 760, in Northampton 667 and in Amherst 797.

Meanwhile, MGM is speaking out against the petition circulating releasing this statement Monday:

"MGM Springfield will be the economic engine for an exciting urban recovery; bringing jobs where they are needed most.  MGM has not only earned the overwhelming support of the residents of Springfield but also from people and businesses across the region, whether the hundreds of small business owners with whom we have met, the various regional business and trade associations that have endorsed our project, or the thousands of individual supporters that have registered their support. MGM has worked diligently within the licensing guidelines to bring a world-class entertainment, retail and dining resort to Western Massachusetts, and we remain confident that this process will result in a transformative development of which the Commonwealth can be proud." 

The state-wide group trying to get the gaming legislation repealed says they currently have about 75,000 signatures.

The Longmeadow Select Board has voted in a non-binding resolution against a local casino.

Grant says only one thing could change his mind.

"I would love to have MGM come to Longmeadow. I've said this many times, 'Come to Longmeadow, state your case, debate us, debate me publicly.'"

The group Repeal the Casino Deal that is collecting all those signatures says they plan on sending them in to the secretary of state's office by the Wednesday deadline in the hopes of getting a measure on the 2014 ballot.

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