The Springfield, Massachusetts city council is considering an ordinance that would put restrictions on public officials obtaining jobs at the new MGM casino being built in the city.
Under a proposed municipal ethics ordinance, the city’s elected officials—the mayor and 11 city councilors – would be barred for at least five years from obtaining a job at the MGM casino after leaving the city’s employment. Non-elected officials who are considered “major policymakers” would face a two-year ban.
Public officials in areas denied casinos have begun to raise their voices. This comes on the heels of Governor Andrew Cuomo's letter to the state Gaming Commission, urging the panel to reopen bidding for a casino in the Southern Tier. New hopes have emerged for two failed projects.
Months of discussion about jobs, development and construction came to naught for several losing communities last week when just three casino projects got the green light from New York state’s gaming commission. But, communities and developers that lost casino bids are on the rebound.
Last week, the state’s Gaming Facility Location Board rejected 13 proposals in favor of projects in Sullivan, Seneca and Schenectady counties.
Now that MGM has won Massachusetts regulatory and voter approval to build a resort casino in downtown Springfield the Las Vegas-based entertainment giant has employment and local purchasing commitments to keep.
There has been plenty of talk about how casinos in New York’s Capital Region and Springfield, Massachusetts could impact those communities. But what about the area sandwiched in between? While neither casino is up and running just yet, Berkshire performance venues are keeping an eye on the developments.
After a crushing defeat at the polls last month, casino opponents in Massachusetts are talking about becoming watchdogs over the development of the new industry they fought to exclude from the state. Steve Abdow, who was a western Massachusetts organizer with Faith for Repeal and Repeal the Casino Deal, said he and other activists talked earlier this week about future plans. Abdow spoke with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill.
Millions of dollars from MGM Resorts will start flowing soon to Springfield and other western Massachusetts communities. MGM is obligated to make the payments years before the $800 million casino it is building in downtown Springfield opens.
Now that MGM Resorts has been awarded a casino license by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission -- a formality that had been delayed for months by the ill-fated effort to repeal the casino law on Election Day — the company must honor development agreements with Springfield and surrounding communities.
Massachusetts Governor-elect Charlie Baker, just three days removed from his close election victory, visited western Massachusetts today. He met privately with the mayor of the region’s largest city, and also with a suburban mayor who had endorsed Baker’s candidacy.
The Republican governor-elect and the Democratic mayor of Springfield dismissed their political differences and stressed their mutual interests in economic development and finding innovative ways to improve the state’s public schools.
The introduction of Las Vegas-style gambling to Massachusetts will proceed at a more rapid pace now that a major hurdle has been cleared. Voters soundly defeated a ballot question to repeal the 2011 casino law.
With the cloud of uncertainty caused by the repeal vote lifted, The Massachusetts Gaming Commission meeting in Boston Thursday voted unanimously to formally award licenses to build and operate full-scale destination casinos to MGM Resorts for the company’s Springfield project and to Wynn Resorts in greater Boston.
Massachusetts voters Tuesday soundly rejected a ban on Las Vegas-style gambling. The vote allows casino projects to move forward in Springfield and eastern Massachusetts.
Voters by a lopsided 60-40 percent margin decided to keep the Massachusetts 2011 casino gambling law on the books after a casino industry-financed, multi-million dollar, tightly-focused campaign that highlighted the promise of thousands of jobs and revitalization in two economically depressed cities.