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Springfield Delays Announcement on Casino Host Agreement


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — People in Springfield will have to wait a little longer before knowing whether one or two casino proposals will be on the ballot.

Earlier today, we learned that the city needs more time before it decides whether to pursue an agreement with its casino applicants.

Friday, January 25th was the deadline the city originally set to announce whether MGM or Penn National or both were still in the game.

MGM is proposing an $800 million casino for the city’s South End, while Penn National Gaming wants to build an $800 million casino in the North End, at a site that would involve the taking of the Peter Pan bus station and The Republican building.

But as January 25th arrived, the city said it needed more time to evaluate the proposals from the two casino applicants.

There are a wide range of issues to consider ranging from the exterior look of the casinos to traffic and infrastructure questions.

Here’s just one example: “Union Street …which borders the MGM proposal had 16 water main breaks. That’s an interesting issue when you look at a casino that needs to be operating that would be the area. They would be entering or possible an area where their 18 wheelers and supply traffic comes from,” says Springfield’s Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy.

Now that the Mayor has delayed the host agreement issue, Kennedy was asked if that will have an impact on when voters will have their say.

“There’s a schedule we’re going on. The city council has to do their work and the gaming commission has to do their work, so we’re hoping everything comes together in the June time frame. It could be a little later than that but we’re hoping for June,” Kennedy adds.

Ultimately agreements with one or both companies would need the okay from Mayor Sarno, the city council, and finally the voters of Springfield.

MGM and Penn National had submitted their phase one applications on January 3rd after getting a three week delay.

Kennedy says that delay played into today’s delay the city needs to continue evaluating both proposals,

Since that time, the city’s casino consultant and two mayor-appointed review boards have been looking at the proposals.

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