SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — The battle to build a casino in Springfield is ready to heat up. The players are jockeying for position and Tuesday, one of those players opens a new downtown office.
MGM Springfield is opening its office right in the heart of downtown at 1441 Main Street.
Company president Bill Hornbuckle hosted a reception this afternoon for community leaders.
MGM has its sights set on a casino in the Downtown/South End area.
The casino countdown clock is ticking for operators interested in building a casino in Springfield.
So far, four have expressed interest.
Now it’s time to see who really is in the game.
“It’s an exciting time right now and this really puts it on the table who has a strong poker hand and who’s bluffing so we’ll know who all the players are,” says Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.
The four casino operators who have expressed interest in Springfield are MGM, Ameristar, Penn National Gaming, and Hard Rock International.
The deadline for applications in phase one is Thursday, October 11 at 5:00 p.m., according to Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy.
Does he expect all four parties to pony up?
“We’re just basing that on discussions we’ve had over the last 9 months with a variety of operators and we’re expecting there will be around four but we’ll see thursday at 5 o’clock.” Kennedy adds.
By late Thursday, we’ll know which casino operators have stepped to the plate in Springdield. That’s phase one of the applciation process.
If they pass muster, they’ll go to phase two and that’s when the city requires the $400,000 apllciation fee to the state :15
So far, the only announced operator intrested in western massachsuetts who has paid that non-refudnable $400,000 fee is MGM which already has uinveiled an $800 million casino project for Springfield’s South End.
Springfield is ready for the competition to heat up.
“It’s a very large economic development project and that’s the way I’m going to approch it and that’s the way the City is going to appraoch it. Whether it’s gaming or something else, it’s irrlevant what’s important is the economic development aspects of it.”
Mayor Sarno says a casino for Springfield could bring in between $15 to $20 million a year in new tax revenue.
So the stakes are high. The city is ready to see who the players are at this table.