New England News
12:20 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Ameristar Official Outlines Casino Proposal For Springfield

  A top official with a Nevada based gaming  company says a proposed casino in Springfield Massachusetts would be the  largest gambling facility it currently operates. But officials with Ameristar offered only a broad description of its plans for a Springfield casino during a presentation to a city council ad-hoc casino committee.   WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

   During a 45 minute presentation to the Springfield City Council’s Casino Site Committee, Monday Night a top official with Ameristar pledged to fill thousands of casino jobs with local people to reduce the city’s high unemployment rate, to donate to local charitable causes, to compliment and not compete with local entertainment venues.

   But Ameristar senior vice president Troy Stremming provided few new details of  the  resort casino the company hopes to build on a 41 acre former industrial site the company purchased earlier this year for $16 million.  He said there would be a 650 room hotel, covered parking for six thousand  cars, restaurants, bars, 100 table games and 4000 slot machines.

   Stremming projected the $500 million plus development would yield 2000 construction jobs and 28 hundred permanent jobs.

   Stremming said the casino would not contain a large theater.

   Ameristar operates nine casinos in the United States and is in the process of building a 10th resort. Asked by a committee member to identify Ameristar’s strengths  Stremming sited financial stability and  no record of regulatory problems.

   Springfield City Council President James Ferrera said he was impressed with Ameristar’s presentation.

   Ameristar was the first casino company to plant its flag in Springfield late last year. At  the time,  Hard Rock International was pursuing a casino development in Holyoke. MGM Resorts announced a project in Brimfield.  But now both those companies, along with at least one more, are working to develop projects in Springfield.  MGM officials have scheduled an announcement for tomorrow.

   Unlike Ameristar, the other casino companies have worked with local real estate developers, consultants and others with ties to Springfield, but Ferrera insists that won’t make any difference in the end.

   Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is planning to meet individually on Monday with casino operators to announce the process his administration intends to follow for evaluating their proposals. A casino consultant hired by the mayor plans to meet with the city council’s casino site committee Monday evening.

   Sarno has said he intends to endorse just one casino proposal in Springfield in a bid to get the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to award it the lone license available in western Massachusetts.

   Mohegan Sun is expected to compete for the casino license with a project in Palmer.

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