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    American Bus Association wants to work with casino industry to ensure safety

    December 10, 2014

    SPRINGFIELD – Stung by a string of crashes involving buses ferrying gamblers to casinos, the American Bus Association is working with gambling trade group the American Gaming Association to stop unsafe bus operators from bringing gamblers to casinos across the country.

    “We want the riding public to have confidence in safety and the casino operators need to have confidence that the buses are operated safely,” said Peter Pantuso, president and CEO of theAmerican Bus Association.

    Pantuso met with editors and reporters at The Republican last week to discuss the inclusion of Bright Nights in the American Bus Association’sTop 100 list of events. He also discussed the industry in general, especially with the planned construction of MGM Springfield’s $800 million casino complex in Springfield’s South End.

    The partnership will create a sort of “seal of approval” so casinos and consumers know that bus companies have been vetted. It’s a tool to help casinos know which companies to allow on their property as well, Pantuso said.

    “We had been wanting to address this issue for years,” he said.

    But recently leadership at the American Gaming Association changed and the two groups worked this agreement out.

    Pantuso was in town to promote existing  tourist attractions. Besides Bright Nights, he visited with executives at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield. The Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau and Peter Pan Bus Lines helped organize the trip.

    Pantuso said the casino won’t smother the other attractions. Instead, it’ll bring them more business.

    “It’s like adding Nordstrom to the mall,” he said.

    Peter Picknelly, president and CEO of Peter Pan, said his company has been transporting gamblers out of state to Connecticut for years. He said now, Peter Pan will be bringing casino enthusiasts to Springfield.

    Pantuso and Picknelly said the bus industry has a safety record on par with their airlines.

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