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…………..
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 here. Drinks 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.
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.
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?
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!