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Massachusetts Gambling: West Springfield Voters Reject Hard Rock Casino Proposal

Company Reportedly Will Give Up On Casino-Resort Plans In State

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On Tuesday, West Springfield voters rejected a proposal by Hard Rock International to build a massive $800 million casino-resort in the town. It was defeated by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent.

The official tally was 3,413 in favor and 4,165 against, according to The Hartford Courant.

Around 46 percent of the registered voters in the town came out to voice their opinion on the plan.

“It’s wonderful, the heart and soul of volunteers that live here and care about our town, who went out and talked to their neighbors and talked to their friends,” Nathan Bech, the president of No Casino West Springfield Inc., told The Hartford Courant. "It shows that that’s more important that spending a million dollars on a campaign.”

“We communicated our message and I think we were clear,” Tim Maland, president of Hard Rock’s New England division, told MassLive. “But the message the voters heard wasn’t enough to convince them that we were trying to bring them more than a casino. But they voted with their heart and conscience and it was close. I can respect that.”

It reportedly doesn’t look like Hard Rock will seek a casino-resort license elsewhere in the state. The casino would have been built a few miles from the Connecticut line.

Only one casino will be allowed to be built in Western Massachusetts.

The favorite for a casino in this region could be MGM Resorts International, which plans to build in Springfield. Mohegan Sun is also looking to build in Palmer. Elsewhere in the state, Wynn Resorts looks to build in the town of Everett, near Boston.

A total of three new casino-resorts will be built under a state law that passed in 2011.