Worcester Police Chief: How Will Slots Parlor Impact Existing Problems? - NECN

Worcester Police Chief: How Will Slots Parlor Impact Existing Problems?



    Chief Gary Gemme says the area for the proposed slots parlor already has issues like traffic, prostitution and drugs (Published Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014)

    (NECN: Kristen Carosa) - Some details are trickling out about the proposed $240-million slots parlor/hotel project in Worcester, Mass. At a public city council subcommittee meeting Wednesday night, plans and rendering were unveiled, but councilors and residents still have many questions.

    “The plans we saw last night weren't very detailed but at least we are getting to see a rendering,” says district three City Councilor George Russell.

    He says he would have liked to have seen more from a casino developer at a public hearing Wednesday night. Details of a proposed slots parlor in Worcester were revealed to the public Wednesday night but there are still plenty of questions surrounding gaming in the city.

    “We heard from a cross section of people - people were split - some for - some against,” says Russell.

    “We have had similar experiences in other markets where we have built casinos - for us it's an education process,” said Greg Carlin, CEO of Rush Street Gaming.

    Rush Street Gaming is proposing a $240-million slots parlor on the vacant Wyman Gordon site. A full service hotel in downtown Worcester would be part of the project.

    Carlin says the slot parlor will be 125,000 square feet, have more than 1200 machines and create 600 new jobs.

    “Based on polling data I do feel like a majority of people in the city support our proposal.”

    Though it's still early in the process public safety officials are starting to plan for the proposed facility.

    “We have to identify what issues we are going to have and we have to have a plan in place in order to address those and keep the city safe,” says WPD Police Chief Gary Gemme.

    Chief Gemme says the area where the slots parlor would be built already has its challenges, including traffic issues, prostitution and drugs.

    “If you bring this type of facility, how will it impact those existing problems,” he asks.

    Chief Gemme says lots of questions still need to be answered, but Councilor Russell says one thing is certain:

    “The citizens will have the last word on this,” he says. “All the citizens of Worcester, that's the bottom line - they will have the last word.”