The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is scheduled to hold a final public hearing in Springfield today on the casino proposed by MGM. It is a last chance for commissioners to gauge public sentiment before completing a lengthy evaluation of the sole resort casino applicant in western Massachusetts.
Questions about ethics and possible conflicts of interest are clouding the effort to bring casino gambling to Massachusetts. There are calls for the chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to step down, and questions about the impartiality of a justice who will help decide if voters get a say on the fate of casinos.
Two western Massachusetts communities that went through an arbitration process to obtain payments intended to offset the impacts of a casino in Springfield appear to have done better financially than municipalities that accepted offers from casino giant MGM Resorts.
Longmeadow and West Springfield went to arbitration with MGM after failing to reach negotiated settlements with the casino company by an end-of- March deadline established by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. By then MGM had reached surrounding community agreements with six other municipalities.
After a two-year battle that left MGM Resorts International as the last competitor standing to build a resort casino in western Massachusetts, the entertainment giant now wants to delay the ultimate prize—a Massachusetts casino license. A leading anti-casino advocate says it’s a sign MGM is nervous about the prospect Massachusetts voters could repeal casino gambling in a statewide referendum.
Thousands of Massachusetts residents are being surveyed as part of multi-year, multi-million dollar research project on the social and economic impacts of introducing casino gambling to the state.
The members of the UMass Amherst led research team say initial results will be reported to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in September. These findings will be the baseline that will be used to measure changes in problem gambling, domestic violence, housing prices and a host of other socio-economic factors as casinos open over the next one to three years.
The effort to bring casino gambling to Massachusetts,which began almost two-and-a-half years ago, has hit some speed bumps along the way. Gambling opponents believe they still have a chance to shut down the fledgling industry in Massachusetts.
Supporters and opponents of MGM’s $800 million casino project in Springfield had a final chance last night to sound-off in front of Massachusetts gaming industry regulators. The state gaming commission held a final public hearing in Springfield as it prepares to award the lone casino license in western Massachusetts where MGM Springfield is the only applicant.
Construction is set to begin on the first major gambling facility in Massachusetts. On Friday, Penn National Gaming held a groundbreaking ceremony for a $225 million slots parlor at the Plainridge harness race track in Plainville.
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.
A harness racing track has been chosen by Massachusetts gambling regulators as the site of the state’s first casino. If all goes according to schedule, the casino that will have up to 1,250 slot machines, but no table games, will open just over a year from now.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission, in the most significant decision of its two years in existence, voted 3-2 on Thursday to offer a license to Penn National Gaming to operate a slot machine parlor at the Plainridge harness racetrack. The track is in Plainville on the Rhode Island border.