Mass Casino Expansion News $

Let the courtships begin!

NECN says it’s not quite like David & Goliath, but I do think it’s close. It would be a similar situation if Boyd took on MGM for a particular important property on the strip – Boyd Gaming being very similar to Penn in it’s diverse properties. One has the Vegas glitz – and the name, MGM, a Fortune 500 company with 62,000 employees. The other is from Pennsylvania, called Penn National Gaming which has opened 3 new casinos this year. Its proposal is called Hollywood Springfield, similar to the Hollywood Hotel, Casino & Raceway in Bangor, Maine. Hollywood Springfield would be a more grand scale, I would believe. A little closer look at the two proposals follows:

Penn National has 24 casinos in the United States, so it is not quite David to MGM’s Goliath. Penn National and local partner Peter A. Picknelly, chairman and CEO of Peter Pan Bus Lines, propose a resort casino and hotel on 13.4 acres in the North End, which includes bus company property. Penn National said Tuesday it wants to include regionally-themed restaurants, including a sports bar involving retired quarterback Doug Flutie.

MGM Resorts International proposes a resort casino, hotel and entertainment complex on a 10-block site downtown. MGM said it would include retail shops and apartments, and take advantage of existing tourism spots in Springfield to compete with the entertainment complexes of Connecticut casinos. MGM also said its project would create thousands of new jobs.

The Request for Proposals is due Jan. 3. The city has a month to review, and it will then likely be put on a ballot. Mayor Domenic Sarno is expected to decide early next year whether to negotiate a host community agreement with one or both of the developers.

And remember, a casino isn’t coming to Springfield for certain – there are other bids too in Holyoke and Palmer. The company that emerges from the Springfield competition will likely have to compete locally with Uncasville, Conn., casino company Mohegan Sun, which is seeking a resort casino in the town of Palmer.  Recently, the Mayor of Holyoke rescinded his intentions for the casino consideration.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will make the final decision on the western Massachusetts operating license, one of three regional licenses allowed under the state’s year-old casino law.  With Ameristar pulling out in Springfield, and Holyoke seemingly not interested, the numbers are dwindling.

My crystal ball tells me the following prediction.  The three casinos will be (drum roll)…..

  1. Wampanoag Tribe in the Southeast area – while others are being permitted to submit bids again, the Wampanoags will get there act together and get the bid
  2. Caesar’s(Harrah’s) in Boston area – rumor has it, it’s the leader by far, even with Steve Wynn’s late presence
  3. MGM in the western area – those voting will not see past MGM’s reputation and money, leaving Penn National left out.  Mohegan Sun has a great spot in place that needs economic development, but I think the powers to be would prefer Springfield to Palmer – it’s just “glitzier.”

That’s all for now. May all your flushes be royal.



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