Massachusetts Gaming Commission

MGM Springfield

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.

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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.

MGM Springfield

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.

Plainridge Park Casino is slated to open next spring.

Penn National was awarded the state's only slots parlor license last month by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

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.

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.


The lone applicant for the western Massachusetts casino license pitched the project to state gaming industry regulators today.  The 90-minute public presentation marked the beginning of an evaluation process that is expected to culminate with the awarding of a casino license in the spring.

   MGM  Resorts International CEO James Murran told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission that even though all competitors have fallen by the wayside, MGM’s Springfield project is the right choice to be awarded a lucrative casino license.

Gaming industry regulators in Massachusetts are set to embark on a lengthy public review process that is expected to end with the awarding of the state’s first casino licenses by the end of May. Several criteria will be examined to determine the final winners of the high-stakes competition

Three casino companies submitted final license applications—each consisting of thousands of pages—by the New Year’s Eve deadline to satisfy the requirements of  the  two-phase  application process established by the Massachusetts  Gaming Commission.