Is Warren really being considered a site for a possible casino? According to the Boston Globe things have started to heat up on the gaming front and Warren is one of the options for bringing gaming into Massachusetts. Bringing gaming into any community can be controversial and concerning but the economic impact can be significant. Increased tourism brings jobs and opportunities for small businesses to start up to support that activity.
Warren is about 25 miles west of Worcester at the outer western edge of Worcester County. It is a small community of about 5000 residents as of the 2000 census. It is commutable from both Worcester and Springfield which makes it a bit of a retreat for people working in those cities. The town of Warren selectmen started a Casino Study Commission to see what the town should be prepared for if Warren is chosen as a site.
Warren is being considered because the Mass Turnpike Authority owns land there that can be leased to a casino if chosen. This is considered a better option since money is generated for the state instead of a private developer. The Boston Globe article appears to be prompted by the Bayside Expo Center throwing their hat into the ring as a possible casino site. They have been under financial pressure for a long time and this may be a way to make their property financially successful again.
Many locations and models are being considered including a site in Palmer by Mohegan Sun that may make the Warren location overkill. Since DiMasi who was opposed to bringing gaming to Massachusetts is out of the picture we will see much more on this in the fall. Economically bringing in new industries into Massachusetts is a must. It will be interesting to see which parts of the state will benefit. Central Massachusetts should be part of the mix.