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Charlton not ready to bet it all on casino

But town's voters may yet have their say

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July 20, 2010
CHARLTON — Selectmen are at least open to the idea of a casino in town, but they disagree on how it would affect the community.

Selectmen Chairman Peter Boria said he would have to see a final proposal before lending any support to the idea, but is at least willing to let voters decide the issue.

"It depends on how it is proposed," he said of whether he would support a casino. "There are too many questions right now."

At least four companies have expressed interest in constructing a casino behind the 5-East service plaza on the Massachusetts Turnpike, according to Springfield-based Attorney Paul Nicolai. He has a business arrangement to possibly purchase the 114-acre parcel from its owner, Vincent Iuliano, a Charlton resident. Penn National Gaming Company and the Hard Rock International have both been publicly named as two of the interested firms.

The state legislature, however, would first have to pass a casino gaming bill, which they are currently considering. Depending on what is finalized, the bill could carve the Commonwealth into several zones, which could affect whether a casino is built in Charlton.

Only one of the selectmen interviewed Tuesday, David Singer, expressly supported a casino coming to town, while others are at least willing to let voters decide on the matter. The bill currently under consideration would require voters approve a casino before it was constructed.

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

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