Mohegan Sun has agreed to give the town of Palmer $2.94 million upfront and then annual payments of about $16 million under a casino agreement that will allow the gambling company to move ahead to a local vote, the next step in its four-year pursuit of a casino license in Western Massachusetts.
The agreement, announced today after eight months of negotiations, includes an estimated $23 million to expand and improve roads, sewer and water systems in Palmer, including work to expand the capacity of the Exit 8 interchange on the Massachusetts Turnpike, the route most of the resort’s visitors would use to reach the facility, according to Mohegan Sun.
“We have a very, very comprehensive agreement and one that is transformative for the town of Palmer in terms of the revenue that’s guaranteed, in terms of the infrastructure improvements that are coming with it and the job opportunities for this town,” said Mitchell Etess, chief executive officer of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, in an interview this morning.
The agreement needs to be formally approved by the Palmer Town Council and the Management Board of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, though both bodies are expected to pass the deal.
The Palmer Town Council is scheduled to vote on the agreement and establish a date for a town-wide referendum at its next meeting on September 3. The mandatory referendum will take place between 60 and 90 days from the completion of the deal. Etess said he hopes the town will vote as soon as it can, and said Mohegan Sun will run a campaign ahead of the vote.
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