MGM Springfield casino

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.

Casino supporters in Springfield, Massachusetts received an early Christmas present on Monday. A regulatory ruling paves the way for a final decision this spring on what has been billed as the biggest economic development project in the city’s history

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission, after reviewing a 10- month background investigation, cleared MGM Resorts International to be the lone applicant for a casino license in western Massachusetts. The Las Vegas-based entertainment industry giant is proposing an $800 million resort casino in downtown Springfield.

Massgaming.com

Ethics questions swirl around the chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission as the panel inches closer to issuing casino licenses.  The head gaming industry regulator is now a defendant in a lawsuit by a major casino company

Caesars Entertainment filed a federal court lawsuit this week accusing Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby of discrimination against the company so as to boost a rival casino development where a former business associate of the chairman stands to profit.

MGM Resorts International is looking to get a green light this week from Massachusetts gaming industry regulators to file a final application to build a $800 million resort casino in downtown Springfield. Investigators for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission have found no reason to disqualify the Las Vegas-based company from the casino licensing process.

MGM Springfield

MGM Resorts International appears to have cleared a key hurdle in the quest to build a resort casino in Springfield, Massachusetts.  The results of a 10-month investigation by Massachusetts gaming industry regulators were released today.

A study commissioned for the city of Springfield, Massachusetts finds strong potential for new market-rate housing in the downtown area where a casino is proposed.  But housing developers say high costs and available financing are challenges.

Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority

The town clerk in Palmer, Massachusetts is expected to announce this week the date for a recount of the votes cast in the November 5th referendum on Mohegan Sun’s $1 billion casino proposal.  The Connecticut-based casino operator late last week filed the necessary paperwork to obtain a recount of the referendum it lost by fewer than 100 votes.

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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

Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority

Mohegan Sun plans to ask for a recount of Tuesday’s referendum in Palmer where voters by a narrow margin rejected the company’s plans for a $1 billion resort casino.  If the results stand, it will leave MGM in Springfield as the only company left to apply for the lone casino license available in western Massachusetts.

The casino referendum was defeated by a vote of 2,657 to 2,564—a margin of 93 votes—according to final, but unofficial, results announced Tuesday night by the Palmer Town Clerk’s office. Turnout was an astounding 66 percent of the town’s registered voters.

MGM Springfield

A decision on whether MGM Resorts International is suitable to hold a casino license in Massachusetts is expected to be made by gaming industry regulators in the next two months.  Passing the mandatory background investigation in Massachusetts is proving to be no easy feat.

       When casino industry giant Caesars Entertainment, which has stakes in more than 50 casino operations in the United States and seven countries, was abruptly dropped  two weeks ago    as the operator of a proposed Boston casino, it rang alarm bells in Springfield.

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