MGM Springfield – A Look Back to Start MGM SPRINGFIELD Week

The beginnings of casino expansion in Massachusetts started on November 22, 2011 when then Governor Deval Patrick signed the Expanded Gaming Act into law.  The rest, as they say say, is history in the making.

Today we take a look back at casino expansion in Massachusetts, as it pertains to the opening of the Pilgrim state’s 2nd casino in Springfield.  It’s MGM Springfield week at NETG.

In case you were wondering how MGM Springfield & the process all came to be, I hope to reminisce with you with NETimeGambling’s coverage over our six years of existence, “Covering New England’s Casinos and Much More.”

This will include a series of links to previous articles spanning the time from when Massachusetts approved casino gaming, to the choosing of MGM to build a casino for the western license, to the process, hopes and dreams of Springfield.

Be sure to follow us all week as we give you everything you need to know to get you ready for the opening this Friday of MGM Springfield.

Let’s start in the beginning…………..

Massachustts EXPANDED GAMING ACT

Please note some of these keys points:

  • The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is committed to the encouragement of responsible gaming practices through innovations including the GameSense Info Center and PlayMyWay
  • Rules for Table Games and the possibilities of running these games are legislated by the MGC. For example, authorization of 6/5 Blackjack and usage of shuffle machines is precisely determined.  See MGC Table Games Regulations
  • Alcoholic Drinks must be paid for on the gaming floor, none are to be complimentary.  For more information on drinking regulations, click hereDrinks are available until 4:00AM, but must be playing to be served.
  • All casinos will be non-smoking, with no ATM’s on the casino floor.

For other interesting facts set up by the MGC early on, click on Massachustts EXPANDED GAMING ACT for all the intricate details and regulations.

Massachusetts Regions for full casinos.

Massachusetts Regions for full casinos. Region B is the western licence where MGM applied. 

At first, there were four applicants for the -Region B license – Penn National, who later received the slots-only venue at Plainville, MA,  Hard Rock for land near the Big E Fairgrounds, Mohegan Sun in Palmer, and MGM Springfield.

Western Mass Casino

  • MGM Resorts – Springfield
  • Penn National Gaming – Springfield
  • Hard Rock International – Springfield
  • Mohegan Sun – Palmer

The first out was the same Seminole tribe that just completed the renovation of the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City and had the 2nd-best revenue hold in AC.  Here was our coverage: Springfield Says No to Hard Rock – And Then There Were Two!

The Location Is Chosen

Eventually, a brutal battle between the last two, the Mohegans & MGM, went MGM’s way. Late in 2014, they lost out in the sweepstakes to win a casino license in Massachusetts. Mohegan Sun was criticized for not spending enough, while others felt the MGC just wanted two big names – MGM & Wynn. Read Random Thoughts – New England Casinos for a little rant about the support from Palmer, MA.

MGM Springfield has least area competition in Southern New England

Still changes were inevitable.  MGM saw more restrictions from the MGC and made their share of project changes. Read Massachusetts Casinos on Track, But State Still Not Making It Easy. and MGM Changes To Casino Project Makes Springfield Underwhelming

ANSWERS FOR PROBLEM GAMBLING?

One feature of all Massachusetts casinos was the implementation of two programs by all casinos when open to help people control spending and possible addiction.  Read Will Massachusetts Concern For the Gambler Keep Gamblers Away? and MGM – GameSense, Responsible Gambling, Every Property by Steve Ruddock to note the concern that the MGC has for problem gambling.

What’s in Store For the City of Springfield?

Blighted buildings strewn around Springfield

Finally, we have looked at how important this casino will be to the city of Springfield and why it is different from most other casinos.  Read MGM Springfield Casino Will Be an “Urban” Casino, MGM Springfield Shows Progress &  Promise, and MGMSpringfield Resort Success is Crucial For Springfield

Tomorrow’s Monday Link is by Christopher Gavin, Boston.com and will cover what to expect at the MGM Springfield casino opening next week. Meanwhile, excitement and speculation continues to increase at a feverish pitch.  Follow us all week!

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MGM Springfield “Sign-In Party”- A Gallery of the Day

A lot of hope in Springfield with MGM casino

It was a day I was excited for.  It was my first impression of what was to come. It was the MGM Springfield “Sign-In Party.” To say it was a “party” was kinda pushing it much, but it still had that hospitality-based MGM influence.

The event was at the MassMutual Center, which will serve as one of MGM Springfield’s entertainment venues, with Symphony Hall also included.  For more on this, go to   MGM SPRINGFIELD AND SPECTRA JOINTLY BID TO OPERATE MASSMUTUAL CENTER

Quite the line, Sunday, outside MassMutual – 9:30AM

The line at MassMutual was long both mornings – an hour was the average wait to get in. The afternoons were an easy walk right in.  As you entered, staff members yelled “welcome” and clapped, happy to see you. There were different lines for MLife Rewards Card sign-ups – Newbies, Tier-Upgrades, and Mlife cards for members.

Inside MassMutual, waiting to upgrade!

Once inside, there was another wait, but very organized. In MGM style, staff and a card illusionist was available for the long line to pass the time.  Pens, and other novelties were handed out.

I have had a love-hate opinion of MGM for years.  Recently it’s more appreciation for their handling of my account with them.  After staying in MGM Vegas properties, I offers have increased in number and quality.  I still have concerns about their parking and resort fee madness, but for now, I will focus on last weekend’s events.

Casino Entrance and Galleria / Marketplace beyond

The combination of my MLife Credit card and Oceans (Atlantic) to tier black card helped upgrade my status to Platinum in MLife. A host greeted me with great conversation, and provided explanations for the opening.  Cindy will certainly help our stay soon after the opening.  Yes, MGM has a knack for making players feel special with their classy style of hospitality and worked for me. I walked into the party room next, a new platinum card member.

DJ in the “Party Room”

The party room was, ah, not really a happening time. No snacks or beverages – not even water.  A DJ to make it festive – and loud so it was difficult to talk to anyone. Two blackjack tables to learn how to play. I met the Everi people who are not only expanding their slot machine options, but also well-rounded collection of integrated products and kiosks that brings next-level transactional security to the casino floor. Next time you cash in your slot ticket, check for the Everi name on the machine.

The most interesting stop in the room was the 3-D experience that gave a chance to see the inside of a hotel room.  Not only was it fun, I experienced a personal tour of a deluxe hotel room. The rooms are designed with the city of Springfield in mind. It may have a blue-collar influence, but it is the usual MGM experience.

Giuseppe R. Zemba and the 3-D Hotel experience at “Sign-In Party

Chief Experience Director Giuseppe R. Zemba designed the technology for VR/AR Business Solutions.  Definitely a highlight in the room.

Soon, I was on my way home, upgraded to platinum, visiting with a host, and really looking forward to the opening in 8 days – 8 DAYS!  But first, a few more pics of the new MGM Springfield.

Entire east side of property

Self Parking – a simple right off the exit and you’re in!

South Market where casual eateries will be found – North side, next to parking

More of the East side of the property

Sign from I-91

This week we will be running little specials of past posts, and new posts on how to prepare if you’re going to the opening.

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Stoney Creeks Open at Foxwoods

At first, the entrance is greets you with with a stunning house-like entrance, welcoming you into a friendly world of local craft beer. Once inside, a number of areas are available to sit and socialize with friends. We decided to belly up to the bar.

If this was just about the beer, this review would say that Stoney Creek offers a great variety of craft beer brewed at Foxwoods as well at its first brewery in Branford, CT. But, this new pub at Foxwoods is much, much more.

The Full Pint – Craft Beer News reported, “The brewery is Stony Creek’s second brewing operation following their flagship Branford, Connecticut location. With two floors, 7,100 square feet and seating for over three hundred guests……Both floors of Stony Creek Brewery offer distinct experiences. The ground floor is designed as an ode to Stony Creek’s New England heritage which also includes a spacious beer garden and a brew deck with a view into the brewhouse, giving guests a first-hand look at the beer production process.”

The Beer

To quote the Stony Creek website, “THE FUSION OF CLEAN, BOLD, AND AGGRESSIVE WEST COAST FLAVORS AND EAST COAST BALANCE AND DRINKABILITY. WE CALL THIS AGGRESSIVELY LAID-BACK BEER.”

Yes, those are stouts! Amazing taste.

Bert ordered Sun Juice, a smooth wheat beer with orange peel, grapefruit peel, coriander & chamomile.  This is a great alternative to an IPA craze. They have a number of excellent IPA’s like Cranky, a West Coast IPA with citrus and tropical notes. I went with a flight of four beers. The star of the show is Stoney Joe, a golden mocha stout – that’s right golden.  But even more outstanding is Nitro Stoney Joe, only available at Foxwoods or Branford. (Cans of many other brews can be bought as well.) 15 Stoney Creek brews are on tap.

The Staff

Katie & Kristy , our fantastic bartenders

Probably one of the most enjoyable parts of our visit was meeting its staff members.  Our two bartenders were an incredible help with knowledge and description all of the beers. Want to taste before ordering?  No problem – they want you to taste and be sure to order something you like.  Brewmaster Andy Schwartz leads the team.  We were able to speak to Johnny Haines, in charge on this day, who was very complimentary to Foxwoods in the way the two businesses have worked together. As an example of the great hospitality, he stopped his very busy work load to speak to us, ready to answer questions we had. John informed us a top Foxwoods chef designed the menu. Foxwoods prepares all of the food served.

The Set-Up

There are two floors, each with a different perspective – East Coast (the laid back area) / West Coast (aggressive area) and different variations of the same food.  Wings, flatbreads, and sandwiches are offered on both floors, but each floor offers them with a different cuisine.

The second-floor design has a Southern California-themed beer and cocktail bar, a stage, and an overlook area. On the lower floor, there is a raised platform with Adirondack chairs to people watch in the casino.

NETG recommends this for a break from the casino, or  just a break from life . It’s a great place to meet friends and enjoy quality beer. See you at Stoney Creek at Foxwoods – look for guy with the NETimeGambling tee – that’l be me.

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