Friday, January 17, 2014 • 1:12 PM Post a Comment

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posted by Maureen Turner

• Mike Dobbs makes the case in his latest Reminder column that Northampton won’t be all that badly hurt if MGM is successful in its bid to open a casino in the South End.

That’s the case Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz makes in his city’s application to the Mass Gaming Commission to get mitigation funding from MGM. According to a study commissioned by Northampton, that city’s economy would take a hit of $4.4 to $8.8 million.

“I don’t know how anyone could really say that current visitors to Northampton would be in the same demographic group as the most likely casinos customers,” Dobbs writes. “How do we know how many people who come to the Paradise City Arts Festival, the Three County Fair, and events at Iron Horse, the Calvin or Smith College are the same people within a 100 miles who will say, ‘Hey, I’ve got a full tank of gas, a credit card with some wiggle room and an inclination to roll the dice—literally.’”

I think Dobbs has a point—to a point: folks who come to Northampton to, say, buy pricey artsy crafts are probably not just as likely to instead go gamble at an urban casino. But I do think there are plenty of people who might decide that rather spend their disposable income in Northampton some weekend they’ll instead go check out the new casino down the road—which, remember, is being pitched as a “resort,” with non-gambling amenities (like a skating rink and movie theater) to attract a broader range of customers than just gamblers. Venues like the Calvin, meanwhile, could find themselves competing for big acts with bookers at a casino, which are known for their deep pockets.

• At Western Mass Politics & Insight, Matt Szafranski has been doing an admirable job staying on top of the ever-changing local political landscape, which is in flux due to a number of certain and potential open seats. Among the scenarios Szafranski considers: the possibility that state Sen. Gale Candaras, whose district includes part of Springfield, will leave to run for another office, creating an opening that state Rep. Angelo Puppolo of Springfield might just not be able to resist.

• Finally, Tom Devine offered this no-punches-pulled reminiscence of WWLP co-founder and talk-show host Kitty Broman. While his “sainted grandmother” (aren’t they all?) was a fan of the show, Devine, not so much. (He does offer some praise of former radio host Dan Yorke, though.)

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