Penn National Gaming courting state and local community leaders as it explores casino opportunities in central Massachusetts

Penn National Gaming is interested in developing a casino in central Massachusetts and is courting a state senator and local community leaders.

The Wyomissing, Pa.-based operator has toured a number of locations, according to a report in theWorcester Business Journal, and is focusing on the towns of Auburn, Millbury and Worcester because of highway access.

State Sen. Michael Moore said he met with officials from Penn about six weeks ago and forwarded the company’s contact information to leaders in Worcester, Auburn, Grafton, Leicester, Millbury, Shrewsbury and Upton.

Millbury officials have already had talks with Penn.

“We’ve met with them, we’ve showed interest, and we’ve taken them to sites that might be appropriate for what they want to do,” said Town Manager Bob Spain. “It’s all very preliminary. A lot would have to happen between now and then.”

Millbury has been told by Penn that its proximity to Worcester as well as to Springfield, Boston, Connecticut and Rhode Island make it very attractive for a casino, Spain said.