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Mohegan Sun pitches Palmer casino to Massachusetts lawmakers

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April 5, 2009

SPRINGFIELD, MA - The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority hosted a breakfast for the Western Massachusetts legislative delegation Friday at the Hilton Garden Inn in Springfield to discuss their plans to build a $1 billion casino resort near Exit 8 in Palmer. The project includes slot machines, table games and a 600-room hotel.

State Rep. Todd M. Smola, R-Palmer said he needs to know more details about the impact on Palmer. "I need to see the proposal first," he said.
"Voting on a casino for Palmer is one thing. We'll be asked to consider a gaming expansion for the whole state."

Smola is worried that casino gambling will take revenue away from the state lottery as it has in Connecticut. "We have the most successful lottery in the country. Won't we just be moving money around?"

The Mohegan Sun runs the Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania. Chief operating officer for Mohegan Sun, Jeffrey E. Hartmann, said the Pennsylvania slot machine parlors have not hurt that state's lottery revenue.

Hartmann said the company strongly prefers a Palmer casino operates table games and a hotel in addition to slots. He said such an operation would create more jobs and tax revenue from its restaurants and shops.

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