Massachusetts casinos

An artists rendering of the proposed MGM Casino in Springfield, MA

The first casino approved for construction in western Massachusetts cleared a milestone regulatory hurdle Monday night in Springfield. The city council approved the site plan for the MGM Springfield casino.

The council voted 12-1 to approve the site plan for the $950 million casino project and to accept changes to the host community agreement with MGM that eliminates a 25-story hotel tower from the project.

The Plainridge casino building and parking lot

The first Massachusetts casino, Plainridge Park, had customers lined up out the door for the grand opening in July.  But revenue from the casino’s 1,250 slot machines has fallen month after month since the spectacular opening. 

Massachusetts officials this week cut by nearly 40 percent the tax revenue they expect to collect from the casino. 

Clyde Barrow, a University of Texas professor, who has studied the Northeast casino market, sees no cause for alarm.  He spoke with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill.

Researchers are looking at the impact on Massachusetts from the introduction of large-scale casino gambling.  The project, funded by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, is looking not only at problem gambling, but also at whether the economic benefits touted by casino proponents become reality. Preliminary findings were presented at a recent forum in Springfield sponsored by Partners for a Healthier Community.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with the lead investigator, Rachel Volberg of the UMass Amherst School of Public Health.

The Plainridge casino building and parking lot

Massachusetts enters the casino era today. The state’s first gambling hall opens to the public following a ribbon-cutting ceremony.  The opportunities for people to gamble in the state are likely to grow in the years ahead.

A casino arms race is occurring across the Northeast.  States from New York to Maine are looking to expand gambling options for their residents and visitors.  Casino industry expert Clyde Barrow of the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley sees continued escalation.


When the Massachusetts legislature voted three years ago to legalize casino gambling after decades of debate, it appeared the only fights left would be over where the casinos would be built. But now both sides on the charged issue are gearing up to win the hearts and minds of the state’s voters, who will decide in November if Las Vegas-style gambling will in fact have a home in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts’ highest court ruled today that a question asking voters to repeal the state’s casino law can go on the November ballot.  It sets up what promises to be a hard-fought campaign to decide the fate of the fledgling gambling industry in Massachusetts.

The panel overseeing the state's casino law is exploring the potential impacts should Internet gambling come to Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission held a daylong forum Tuesday on Internet gambling, which is currently legal in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.

Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby suggested that the Legislature not make any decisions on the legalization of online gambling until the panel completes the process of awarding casino licenses in Massachusetts.

Triin Q's photostream Flickr

The effort to bring Las Vegas-style gambling to Massachusetts hit a milestone today when regulators awarded the first casino license.  The Massachusetts Gaming Commission awarded a license to Penn National Gaming to operate a slot machine parlor at a harness race  track in Plainville on the Rhode Island border.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Clyde Barrow, a professor of public policy at UMass Dartmouth, who specializes in the gaming industry.

wikipedia commons

BOSTON (AP) — More than a dozen Massachusetts communities near proposed resort casino sites have petitioned the state's gambling commission for "surrounding community" status.

Under state law, casino developers are required to negotiate agreements with municipalities designated as surrounding communities. Such agreements could include funds to help offset impacts a casino might have on traffic or public safety in a neighboring city or town.

The effort to bring casino gambling to Massachusetts is “on the verge of being a mess,” according to a gaming policy expert.  Voters in Palmer and East Boston rejected casino projects on Election Day.  There is the possibility some casino developers won’t pass a strict background check.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Clyde Barrow, a professor of public policy at UMass Dartmouth, who specializes in the gaming industry.   He asked Barrow to assess the current state of casino development in Massachusetts

MGM Springfield

MGM Resorts International has cleared a major hurdle in the competition to build a casino in western Massachusetts. Voters in Springfield, in a citywide referendum Tuesday, endorsed the company’s plan for an $800 million project in the south end of the city’s downtown.

       MGM officials declared a landslide victory after unofficial results from the Springfield election department showed the citywide referendum passed by 58 percent “yes” to 42 percent “no.”  Just under twenty-five percent of the city’s registered voters went to the polls.


Voters in Springfield, Massachusetts go to the polls today for a referendum on MGM Resorts’ proposal to build an $800 million resort casino in the city’s downtown.  State law gives local voters the right to weigh in before a developer can even apply for a casino license. 

Today casino operator Mohegan Sun unveiled a new architectural design for its proposed casino in Palmer, Massachusetts. The project would include a 250,000 square-foot casino, two hotels, retail space, a conference center, an outdoor pavilion, and an indoor-outdoor water park. 

The state's gambling commission has voted to allow failed applicants for casino licenses in eastern or western Massachusetts the opportunity to compete for the sole license in southeastern Massachusetts.

The motion was approved on Thursday by the panel, which had earlier voted to open the southeast region to commercial casino bids. The Mashpee Wampanaog tribe previously enjoyed exclusivity in the region while it pursued regulatory approvals for a proposed resort casino in Taunton.

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — The state gambling commission is hearing from advocates and opponents of extending an Indian tribe's exclusive right to develop a casino in southeastern Massachusetts.

The commission met Thursday at Bristol Community College in Fall River as it considers opening the region to commercial bidders.