Anti-casino advocate speaks to Springfield Rotary Club - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Anti-casino advocate speaks to Springfield Rotary Club

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Anti-casino advocate and former Connecticut Congressman Robert Steele spoke to the Springfield Rotary Club Friday afternoon about his book entitled The curse: Big-time Gambling's Seduction of a Small New England Town and how he thinks his experience with Connecticut casinos could be similar to what would happen if a casino came to this region.

"I think what Springfield can probably expect is a first very good year and then probably an experience very close to ours where competition begins to drive down revenue," said Steele.

Steele says casino revenue in Connecticut is down 32 percent. He cites an over-saturation of the market, something he says would only get worse with several more casinos possibly being built in the Baystate.

"You know, when it comes to Springfield, the question really is where are all these gamblers going to come from?" said Steele.

MGM is proposing to build an $800 million casino in Springfield's South End. Voters in the city of Homes will be heading to the polls to decide if they want a casino in their city on Tuesday.

And members of the Rotary Club who have now heard from all sides of the casino debate had mixed opinions when it comes to the issue.

"I'm opposed to casinos because I feel that the quality of life around and near casinos goes down for the communities that are around," said Rotary Club member Dee Kuerzel.

"I think it's a wonderful opportunity for Springfield to put 3,000 people to work permanently and 2,000 rebuilding the South End," said Jay Leib, the president of the Rotary Club.

Competing against MGM for the sole casino license to be granted in Western Mass is Hard Rock in West Springfield and Mohegan Sun in Palmer.

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