CONTACT: Edward S. Harrison, Western Massachusetts Casino Task Force Chair (413) 267-3762
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2011
Western Massachusetts Casino Task Force Supports Senator Bower's Call for "An Independent Analysis of Expanded Gaming"
In a formal letter to all members of the Massachusetts General Court, the Western Massachusetts Casino Task Force has re-affirmed one of its top concerns and asks that legislators fully support Senator Stephen M. Brewer’s recently filed legislation for “an independent analysis of expanded gaming in the Commonwealth.”
The Task Force, which takes no official position opposing or supporting the expansion of gambling and gaming in Massachusetts, has developed a comprehensive list of concerns and issues to support its stated objectives to assure that western Massachusetts communities are included in the public policy process; to assure that the state commits to funding a study of all potential impacts of expanded gambling and gaming in these communities; and to assure that casino enabling legislation guarantees adequate compensation to affected communities for mitigating negative impacts of expanded development and operation.
Although critics have charged that such an independent analysis is unnecessary, costly, and time-consuming, similar studies in neighboring states have been conducted in a timely, thorough, and cost-effective manner. Prior to finalizing any gaming legislation and siting any gaming facilities in the state, it is imperative that a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis be undertaken which will accurately assess the positive and negative impacts on a host community, neighboring communities, and the state as a whole. Such an assessment will also serve as an economic tool to determine short-, mid-, and long-term fiscal impacts and to assist in the establishment of parameters for mitigation funds.
The Western Massachusetts Casino Task Force was formed in 2007 and consists of representation from the municipalities of Belchertown, Brookfield, Brimfield, Hampden, Holland, Ludlow, Monson, Palmer, Sturbridge, Wales, Ware, Warren, West Brookfield, and Wilbraham. The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission serves on the Task Force as technical advisors and support staff.