Casino panel to hold forum in western Mass.

Boston(AP) — The panel overseeing the state's new gambling law is heading for western Massachusetts, where the competition for one of the state's three resort casino licenses is heating up.

The five-member Massachusetts Gaming Commission is scheduled to hold a forum in Springfield on Wednesday to discuss issues related to expanded gambling, including jobs, tourism and support for communities that might host a casino in the future.

Ameristar Casinos of Nevada has proposed a resort casino on a former industrial site off Interstate 291 in Springfield, and other developers have expressed interest in the city.

Officials of MGM Resorts recently met with leaders of Springfield's South End community but the company has yet to make an announcement.

Also competing for the sole western Massachusetts license is Connecticut's Mohegan Sun, which hopes to build a casino in the town of Palmer.

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