Town councilors in Palmer, Mass., voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a "host community agreement" with Mohegan Sun Massachusetts, the partnership seeking a license to develop a $1 billion resort casino in the western Massachusetts town.
The seven councilors also voted unanimously to set a townwide referendum on the project for Nov. 5, Town Manager Charlie Blanchard said.
Blanchard signed the agreement last week, as did Mitchell Etess, chief executive officer of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, which operates Mohegan Sun in Uncasville and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Under the agreement, the partnership will provide the town with more than $16 million a year in "mitigation" disbursements as well as nearly $3 million in upfront payments.
Mohegan Sun Massachusetts is one of three developments vying for the sole license the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is expected to award next year for the Bay State's western region. The other two are MGM Resorts International's proposal for Springfield and Hard Rock International's plan for West Springfield.
The commission is conducting background investigations of the applicants, seeking to determine their "suitability" in terms of integrity and financial wherewithal.