SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) – Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno has announced that the city will negotiate host agreements with both companies vying for a possible casino in Springfield.
In a statement issued Monday, Sarno, who consulted with the Mayor’s Advisory Committee, his own review of the documents, and the city’s outside consultants, says that the city will immediately begin negotiating agreements with MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming, who has partnered with Springfield businessman Peter Picknelly.
“After careful review and consideration of the proposals submitted by MGM and Penn [Joint Venture] in response to the City’s Phase II-Request for Qualifications/Request for Proposals, I have decided that both proposals have qualified to proceed to this next step in the selection process.” Sarno says in a statement.
Penn National is proposing a “Hollywood” branded casino in the city’s North End on land now occupied by The Republican newspaper and the Peter Pan bus terminal.
On the other end of town, MGM is proposing a casino in the South End, on property to the west side of Main Street, some of which was damaged during the June 2011 tornado.
Reaching a deal on a host agreement between a casino developer and a city or town is a key step in the process of granting one of the three possible casino licenses by the Mass. Gaming Commission.
However, the city notes that just because they are beginning negotiations with both firms does not guarantee that they will reach an agreement with either firm.
If an agreement is reached, it will need approval of the City Council and the city’s voters as part of a binding referendum question.