Gaming Commission Grants MGM License to Operate Casino
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Another milestone day for Springfield in MGM’s effort to bring a casino to the city.
The Mass. Gaming Commission voted unanimously today to name MGM Springfield the winner of the western Massachusetts casino license.
While the gaming commission gave MGM the green light today, the license won’t officially be awarded until a later date. It’s all contingent on the state Supreme Court’s ruling on whether the gaming issue will be placed on the statewide ballot.
By a 5-to-0 vote, the gaming commission gives the nod to MGM Springfield.
Members of the gaming commission, along with MGM Springfield president Mike Mathis, sign the agreement.
MGM has worked for more than two years on its proposal which calls for an $800 million casino in the city’s South End.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno says the casino will bring jobs and much needed tax revenue to the city.
“This is a massive project that is going to bring $25 million yearly in revenue to the city on the host agreement, which allows me to do many more good things across the city, but more importantly, it brings thousands of good paying jobs, white collar and blue collar jobs,” Sarno says.
MGM’s Jim Murren says the casino-entertainment giant has worked closely with the city to bring in a project that will be an economic boost to the area.
“With that tragedy of the tornado comes this opportunity of rebirth and revival. We’re proud to be part of that,” Murren says.
The room at the MassMutual Center was full of MGM supporters.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for the youth of Springfield to not only get a job, but get a real working wage with benefits and everything else like that,” says Erwin Driskell, a casino supporter.
Debra Driskell, another supporter, adds, “This is huge. I grew up here in Springfield, so this is a changing day in the life of our city.”
But casino opponents have not given up the fight.
“We believe the commission acted in their role as an advocate for the gambling industry. We believe the people think otherwise…that the people across Massachusetts want an opportunity to vote,” explains casino opponent Alan Cabot.
And the wild card in this hand is the state Supreme Judicial Court decision on whether the issue of legalizing gaming in Massachusetts will be put before voters across the state in a referendum vote in November.
People ABC40 spoke with today are hoping that the Massachusetts Judicial Supreme Court will come down with its ruling by the end of the month, so in just a couple of weeks, we could very well know if those shovels will be in ther ground this simmer .