MGM Springfield casino

MGM Springfield

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.  

WAMC

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.

WAMC

The time for persuading people with stump speeches, debate performances and TV ads is over. Campaigns in Massachusetts are working today to motivate people to go out and vote.

       Democratic candidate for Massachusetts governor Martha Coakley spent Election Day in the state’s three largest cities, where she needs a heavy voter turnout if she is to win a tight race with Republican Charlie Baker.

MGM Springfield

Voters in Massachusetts one week from today will decide whether to launch the fledgling casino industry or pull the plug.  Question 3 on the ballot, if approved, would repeal the state’s 2011 casino law and stop projects authorized by state gambling industry regulators in Springfield, Greater Boston, and Plainville.

With just a week before Election Day, Holyoke City Councilor Anthony Soto stood with five of his fellow city councilors, and an abandoned paper mill as a backdrop, to urge a “no” vote on Question 3.

WAMC

A statewide campaign to fight repeal of the Massachusetts casino law had a formal kickoff in Springfield today.

The casino industry-funded Coalition to Protect Mass Jobs held its first official campaign event Tuesday in the downtown offices of MGM Springfield. About 100 local community leaders, business owners, and labor representatives gathered to hear brief speeches and see the first television ad of the campaign, which stars the city of Springfield.

  Springfield has been banking on casino gambling, but voters in November could overturn the law.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Tim Vercellotti, director of the Western New England University poll and professor of political science, tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that a grassroots repeal effort is gaining steam.

One note on this segment: after Alan’s conversation with Tim Vercellotti, the federal government informed Massachusetts that it would not need space to house the Central American immigrants.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and legislative leaders are betting voters don’t repeal the state’s casino law.   Casino revenue was included in the 2015 state budget, but the impact of the decision appears to be more political than financial.

Gov. Patrick does not see it as much of a gamble to speculate on $73 million in projected casino revenue in a budget that totals $ 36.5 billion. The casino cash may never come if voters repeal the state’s casino law in November.

WAMC

Anti-casino activists launched a statewide referendum campaign today in Springfield where they outlined plans for convincing voters to keep Las Vegas-style gambling from coming to Massachusetts.

MGM Springfield

The three-year old effort to bring Las Vegas-style gambling to Massachusetts was dealt a significant setback this week when the state’s highest court ruled that voters can decide in November if the casino law should be repealed.  The unanimous decision by the State Supreme Judicial Court supporting an effort by anti-casino activists came less than two weeks after MGM was assigned a license to build an $800 million casino in downtown Springfield.    WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with MGM Springfield president Mike Mathis about the status of the project and the plans t

WAMC

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.

MGM Springfield

When casinos were legalized in Massachusetts three years ago, the mayor of Springfield set off on a high-stakes bid to land a destination resort casino that could transform the city’s economically depressed downtown. Now, potentially within months of a groundbreaking for an $800 million casino, the project is in jeopardy. 

Springfield Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy says when he and Mayor Domenic Sarno first talked about the strategy for getting a casino built in the city, they told each other they would remain optimistic and prepared for whatever hurdles came along.

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.

WAMC

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has assigned the state’s first resort casino license to MGM.  The entertainment industry giant got the go-ahead from the industry regulators today to build an $800 million casino in downtown Springfield, but a cloud of uncertainty still hangs over the project.

       The unanimous vote by the five-member gaming commission was greeted with a standing ovation from more than 300 people who packed a ballroom inside the MassMutual Convention Center less than a block from where the casino would be built.

MGM Springfield

Massachusetts gaming industry regulators began a final review today of MGM’s proposed casino in Springfield.  It is expected to conclude Friday with a decision to award the state’s first resort casino license.

Massachusetts Gaming Commissioners gave marks of “sufficient” to “outstanding” as they reported publicly on their evaluation of MGM’s application for a gaming license to build an $800 million casino in downtown Springfield.

Massgaming.com

Gaming industry regulators in Massachusetts have announced a revised timetable for issuing resort casino licenses.  Delays are costing the state and municipal governments gaming revenue that budget writers had counted on receiving by now.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is on track to make a decision on June 13th to award the lone resort casino license in western Massachusetts.  The commission chairman says he will be part of the decision- making process.

Chairman Stephen Crosby presided over the commission’s public hearing in Springfield Wednesday, the first public meeting for the gaming regulators since Crosby removed himself last week from any further role in the casino licensing process in the greater Boston area.

WAMC

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.

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.

The fate of casino gambling in Massachusetts may hinge on a case that was argued before the justices of the state’s highest court in Boston this morning.

       The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard an hour of oral arguments Monday morning on whether a question should be allowed on the November ballot asking voters if the 2011 law that opened the state to Las Vegas-style gambling should be repealed.

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.

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.

The Massachusetts state gambling commission is headed to Springfield to hear from residents and local officials about MGM Resorts' plan to build an $800 million resort casino.

Triin Q's photostream Flickr

As Massachusetts moves closer to issuing the state’s first casino licenses a potential referendum battle is looming.

       Anti-casino leaders are busy developing a campaign strategy to persuade Massachusetts voters to repeal the state’s 2011 gaming law that authorized casino gambling. Steve Abdow, a member of the leadership team of the Repeal the Casino Deal ballot initiative said the message will be pretty straightforward.

       " It's really a matter of education. If people understand the negative impact and that the casinos won't deliver what is promised."

Massgaming.com

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission heard today from three western Massachusetts municipalities that want to be designated as surrounding communities to a casino development. A surrounding community is entitled to negotiate with a casino operator for compensation for traffic and other impacts.

MGM Springfield

The lengthy process to bring casino gambling to Massachusetts has entered a final phase. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will spend the next few months carefully evaluating projects before coming to a decision on issuing licenses.  Supporters of the MGM casino project in Springfield are already anticipating a groundbreaking.

MGM Resorts International is the only applicant for the lone casino license in western Massachusetts, but Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby says the five-member commission is not obligated to award the license to MGM.

WAMC

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.

Wikimedia Commons

The city of Springfield, Massachusetts is continuing preservation efforts on one of the oldest church buildings in New England, while looking to find a place for the property in the plans for downtown urban renewal.

Bids are being solicited by the city of Springfield for repairs to historic Old First Church, a white wood framed building in Court Square in the heart of the city’s downtown.  Patrick Sullivan, the city’s director of buildings management, said it’s estimated the church needs $100,000 in work to repair damage caused by the 2011 tornado.

The city council in Springfield Massachusetts will have three new ad hoc committees this year. A special committee created two years ago to advise the council on casino issues has been dissolved

Springfield City Council President Mike Fenton announced appointments to 15 standing committees and assigned councilors to chair three new special committees that will be tasked with identifying new revenue sources for the city, examining workforce development efforts, and attracting young professionals to live in Springfield.

Massgaming.com

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.

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