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MGM Formally Asks Springfield for July 16 Referendum Vote


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — MGM has formally requested that their casino project be put before the voters in July.

In a letter hand-delivered to Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and City Council President James Ferrera III Wednesday, MGM says that they are fulling another requirement towards a possible casino license and is asking that a binding referendum question be up for vote specifically on July 16.

The city council unanimously approved the host agreement between MGM and the City last Friday. The binding referendum question is a necessary next step under the state’s expanded gaming law.

MGM Springfield President Bill Hornbuckle says in a statement, “MGM is grateful to have the confidence and enthusiasm of Mayor Sarno and now City Council members as we move into the next phase of this competition. We will continue to have an open dialogue with the voters about our project and we look forward to a vote in July.”

ABC40 caught up with Mayor Sarno tonight about the referendum request from MGM and he told us, “We only have a certain amount of window time, and that window time solidifies July 16th. The council has been great to work with, we’ll continue to work with them, get it on the agenda.  We’ll get the question clarified on the ballot.”

If Springfield voters approve the project, MGM’s proposal then goes on to the Mass. Gaming Commission, where the Commission will decide which company may be awarded the one casino license allocated for Western Massachusetts.

Two other companies are also looking to be awarded that license, including Hard Rock for a possible project in West Springfield and Mohegan Sun, which would like to build a casino off the Mass. Pike in Palmer.

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