Springfield, MA - As of this past Thursday, City Council members have approved longer drinking hours at MGM Springfield. Now, gamblers, and all who visit MGM on the casino's s gaming floor, will be able to keep drinking until the new cut off time: 4 a.m. However, all other bars and restaurants will still be closing at 2 a.m.

While this may be a good thing to those who enjoy drinking that late, it is still coming off as a bad thing to residents in the surrounding areas.

Mixed opinions roam the air, and both voiced and written opinions have flooded the web. Some are quite alarmed at the recent decision, and others grow wary of the possibility of increased crime and/or car accidents taking place in the area. While people continue to assume the worst in thinking more drunken car accidents may occur, MGM officials argue back, stating that late night drinking is a part of the casino routine.

Even still, the public continues to voice their opinion on the matter. Some say that more places in the area should continue to extend their drinking hours, in order to stop people from driving across town to reach the nearest late-night bar. Others fight back, stating that extending hours on most, or all, bars will raise arrests in the area due to drunk driving rates rising.

In addition, others claim that they have no idea how increasing drinking hours will help the casino in any way; They assume only bad can happen after certain hours of the night.

To further the fight against this topic, the Massachusetts Restaurant Association has taken a stand on the matter. Officials from the association have said that doing this will only put the surrounding bars and restaurants at a disadvantage, and at a loss for sales.

However, what are we to do now about the matter? City council has approved the matter, and we are now left to see the outcome. MGM Springfield will be opening up on August 24th as the first casino within the resort. Time will tell all my fellow Boston readers. For now, we wait.