Massachusetts Gaming Commission Awards First Resort License to MGM

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Friday awarded the first of three resort-casino licenses to a project in Springfield, spearheaded by MGM. The proposed $800 million gaming property would include a 250-room hotel, 45,000 square feet of meeting space and a 125,000-square-foot casino on 14.5 acres in the city. The commission's decision comes as no surprise, as MGM's entry was the only one still active in the western region of the state; two other proposals failed to gain the support of the residents who would have been affected. The other two resort licenses will be awarded in the eastern and and southeastern parts of the state. The start of construction is contingent on the outcome of efforts to repeal Massachusetts' gaming law. The state's Supreme Judicial Court is expected to rule soon on whether there will be a ballot question in November. If the court rules in favor of the question, MGM officially would get its license the day after election day (Nov. 4), if the law is upheld. If the court rules that the ballot question is illegal, MGM officially would receive the license the day after the ruling. "The MGM Springfield construction timeframe is expected to be about 30 months. The first few months of that will include refining the design and working with the City of Springfield and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on permitting. Shovels in the ground should follow quickly. In the meantime, we continue to work on many aspects of the project, including labor work force and vendor development, so that we will be  ready to go," said Carole Brennan, a spokesperson for the MGM Springfield.