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MGM Springfield to be Awarded State’s First Casino

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/AP) — State gambling officials have voted unanimously to award the state’s first casino license to MGM Springfield, pending acceptance by the Las Vegas-based casino giant of a number of proposed terms and conditions.

The five-member panel added that six conditions be met. Some of those involve making neighborhood aesthetics pleasing, reporting to the Commission on a general contractor, mitigating downtown impacts from construction, and employment issues.

Those six conditions would be in addition to those previously outlined during the application process.

But the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, voting after two consecutive days reviewing the $800 million project, did not address a key request by MGM: temporary relief from millions of dollars in state fees and other payments that come due when the casino license – the state’s first – is formally awarded on Friday.

Under state law, a gambling operator must pay an $85 million state fee within 30 days of being awarded a license.

A proposed ballot initiative would would give voters the chance to repeal the state gaming law this November.

The legality of that is still being decided by the state Supreme Court.

Because MGM does not want to lose their money if gaming is reversed, an agreement with the gaming commission is being reached that would allow them to delay payment until the state Supreme Court rules on the ballot initiative or the actual vote takes place.

Thursday, the commission will meet to clean-up this issue and Friday, they are back here to make the agreement official and designate MGM as the western Mass. casino designee.

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