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MGM Pitches Springfield Casino To State Gaming Regulators


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.

   " We have the money. We have the experience. We have the vision. We are ready to go right now if we are lucky enough to win a casino license."

   Using videos and slides, Murran and other top MGM officials spelled out the details of a project they promise will lead to a revival of the city of Springfield and bring more revenue and tourism to Massachusetts.

  " We will drive the most revenue and we endeavor to be the most successful resort in all  of the Commonwealth and that means eastern Massachusetts as well."

   MGM proposes to build an $800 million dollar resort casino on roughly 15 acres in downtown Springfield. Officials noted the site’s close proximity to Interstate 91, which would carry the bulk of the casino-bound traffic.  They highlighted 2,000 construction and 3,000 permanent jobs the project will generate along with goals for local hiring and affirmative action.

    " We will invest an epic historic amount of money in the city of Springfield,"said Murran.

   MGM will pay Springfield $25 million annually and fund improvements to public safety, city parks, and cover the cost of other amenities as detailed in an agreement negotiated with city officials and ratified by voters last July.  The company projects $130 million in annual tax revenue to the state.

   The MGM officials described the Springfield project as being unlike any other casino and said the goal is to attract people interested in live entertainment, dining and shopping-- not necessarily gambling.  Murran said MGM officials spent 18 months working to tailor the project to the desires of the community.

   Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno told the gaming commission he strongly endorsed the project and said the MGM casino would make Springfield a vibrant urban hub.

   About 35 business and community leaders from Springfield attended the gaming commission meeting in Boston on Thursday.

   Gaming commission chairman Stephen Crosby called MGM’s presentation “fascinating and informative.”  Even thought MGM is the only applicant for the lone western Massachusetts casino license the five-member commission will still conduct a thorough review before making a decision.

   MGM beat out a competing Springfield casino proposal by Penn National Gaming to win Mayor Sarno’s endorsement.   Voters rejected casino projects in West Springfield and Palmer.

   Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts are competing for the lone casino license in the greater Boston area.  The companies made separate public presentations to the gaming commission on Wednesday.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.
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