It's been a little over a week since the new MGM casino opened to much fanfare in Springfield, Massachusetts. A week later, some folks sounded happier than others.
An MGM spokesman said more than 150,00 people visited the new casino in its first three days. Later in the week, Randy Wexler came from Avon, Connecticut, to play craps.
"You know, given a comparison to Mohegan Sun, on a very first visit, I'd probably go back to Mohegan Sun even though it's a little longer for us," he said. "[It] just seems a more inviting environment. This seems so commercialized -- too many lights and noise."
Some business owners in the area have a more positive reaction. Edwa Moyet is the co-owner of C2Z Convenience Store. He estimates business is up about 20 percent since the casino opened.
"It's picked up a lot," he said. "A lot of traffic now. A lot of new faces. It's good. It's good for Springfield. It's good for the businesses, I believe. I don't know about the long run, but as for now, it's great."
The influx of people coming to visit the MGM casino is also boosting the bottom line of Red Rose Pizzeria, which is right next door. Owner Antonio Caputo estimates business is also up about 20%.
"Business has been wonderful," he said. "Seeing a lot of new faces, the sheer numbers. It's overwhelming. Stronger lunch, stronger afternoon. Late at night, yeah."
Caputo said he's not sure the pace will keep up, but he's hiring ten new people to handle the increase in customers.
But a spike in bsuiness isn't universal. The owner of Sun Kim Bop Korean restaurant says her sales are down about a third since MGM opened its doors.
Disclosure: MGM has purchased underwriting from New England Public Radio publicizing the company's non-gambling activities. The NEPR newsroom operates independently of the station's development department, and editorial decisions are made without regard to any funding relationships.