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Four national firms eye area site for casino

July 07, 2010
CHARLTON — Although they have not settled on whether to build on a local site, Penn National Gaming company is just one of four firms interested in building a casino in Charlton.

"It is one of many sites that we are exploring but given how fluid the situation is on the legislative front … we really haven't circled any given site on the map," said Penn National Gaming Senior Vice President for Public Affairs Eric Schippers. "We do have an interest in being in Massachusetts."

Springfield-based Attorney Paul Nicolai on Wednesday, July 7 revealed Penn and Hard Rock International as two of the four firms exploring building a casino behind the 5-East service stop off the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Nicolai has an arrangement possibly purchase a 114-acre parcel from owner Vincent Iuliano, of Charlton. That option expires next summer. He declined to reveal the names of the remaining two firms.

The Seminole Tribe of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which owns the Hard Rock company's chain of hotels, casinos and restaurants, could not be reached for comment.

A study commissioned by Hard Rock determined Charlton is the second best site statewide, outside of Boston, for a casino, Nicolai said.

Late last month, Nicolai revealed firms' interest in the Charlton site, but did not name the companies. When asked why he did so this month, he said media inquires factored into the decision.

"So we went back and neither one of these had any objections," Nicolai said.

Both companies have been in the gaming business for years. Penn owns 15 casinos nationwide, but none in New England, according to its Web site. The Seminole Tribe runs six casinos, all in Florida.

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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