MGM Springfield – What City Improvements Can We Really Expect?

MGM Springfield Casino Entrance

MGM Springfield Casino Entrance

Last month, an interesting article was written by Ali Izzi of the Springfield Student. The premise was that MGM Springfield would revitalize the city.  While the article was well written, and in many aspects, were good points, some of the post needs to be examined further.  Let me explain….

She begins by saying “Imagine a grand casino building with a promenade deck to its side and an overly spacious parking garage to its rear.”  First of all, while the parking garage has already been diminished by one floor in the planning, and I question where the guests AND employees will park.

A bird's eye view of the site, courtesy of wwlp.com

A bird’s eye view of the site, courtesy of wwlp.com

If MGM Springfield is going to be the success that MGM says it will be, the parking garage is already inadequate. If parking is paid around the city, MGM will introduce paid casino parking so that people won’t park for free in their garage.  Sound familiar (Las Vegas + MGM = paid parking at MGM properties, followed by Caesars, followed by Cosmopolitan, etc…..)?

She continues, “Adjacent on the street is a hotel, a movie theater, a bowling alley, an ice skating rink, and even some small shops. A trolley shuffles its way down Main Street and lively residents file out of their new apartment building.”  True.  The whole idea that MGM is trying to conceive is an “urban casino.”  Matter of fact, MGM International CEO Jim Murren admits they are in the resort business, not the casino business.  The amenities Ali mentions will help bring the residents of Springfield together. Additional city transportation is icing on the cake.

MGM Site Map

“…Land usage for all of the casino’s embellishments had to be approved by the council, by late January and February 2016, construction was under way behind the beloved Red Rose Pizzeria.” Thank goodness, Red Rose wouldn’t sell.

Red Rose Pizzeria Springfield, MA

Red Rose Pizzeria Springfield, MA

And why should they? They are a part of Springfield’s fabric as much as cheese on a pizza!  Some things must survive – the old with the new – to bring Springfield to the next level of tourism in New England.

“Another idea that has been passed through the council is a trolley that can transport people to the casino from the Amtrak and Peter Pan stations on the North End. The idea is that the more of the city that can be involved, the more tourism and businesses there will be, which would possibly lead to more jobs.”  Again, Ali is spot on. Springfield needs jobs as well as revenue.  It needs to become a destination again.

One area of concern – crime.  In a city dealing with an increase it is often considered in national crime lists.  According to according to Law Street, Springfield ranks 6th worse crime area in the country under the category of “not-so-major American cities.”  One thing is a positive, Hartford & New Haven, CT., are ranked higher.

Jim Murren and MGM Resorts

Jim Murren & MGM Resorts

As Ms. Izzi says, “Preserving and uplifting the city is a crucial part in the casino’s presence, especially since areas such as the North End are becoming more and more poverty stricken.”

MGM’s intentions, for now, are commendable.  But we have also seen in the past that MGM takes pride in itself as a business, not necessarily for its altruistic nature. Being philanthropic is not part of the MGM “Profit Growth Plan.”

But it is exciting to think of the possibilities for Springfield’s residents and culture.

Let’s hope that MGM Springfield DOES put the city on the New England map again – for all the right reasons.

Binbin

Wynn & MGM – Industry Giants: Arrogant Bullies or Just Acting Badly in New England

“Two guys walk into a New England bar….you’d think the second would have seen it.”  Old joke, I know.  But it fits as you will see at the end of this post.

New England

New England

There’s an old saying in New England about those of us who have lived her and grown up here all our lives. “We don’t accept friendship easily, but when we do, it’s everlasting.”

It’s true that a stereotype of New Englanders is that we can be disagreeable, tending to be suspicious & cautious until we get to know ya.  Trust seems to take more time here in the northeast than other places, but if trust is gained, it’s everlasting. Maybe it’s the tough winters, the three days of spring, the long humid summers, followed by a never-ending falling of leaves, leaves and more leaves.

Fishing in Rhode Island

Fishing in Rhode Island

Whatever is the cause – the weather, the blue-collar history of hard work in textile and fishing industries – when people move here to do business, they need to do their homework to earn our trust.

So in walks two big-wigs from the west.  They are convinced that a) no one knows the gaming industry better than them, and b) they are the kings of manipulation, unstoppable, having their own way, no matter what us peasants in New England want. It is an arrogance that has romanticized the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to the point that Steven  Crosby and his cronies are willing to give Murren & Wynn carte blanche! Continue reading

Massachusetts Casino Projects in Turmoil? A NETG Timeline

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Eight casinos inside this radius by 2017 - not including Maine and NY Expansion!

Eight casinos inside this radius by 2018 – not including Maine and NY Expansion!

Wow, has the Bay State’s Casino Expansion News been busy these past two weeks.  Just when a topic comes up and I start to post about, it gets put on the back burner because something else comes up.  It reminds me what the suits told me at Plainridge Park – “Massachusetts is a different place…”

If after reading this “Timeline of Turmoil” you have any questions or comments, feel free send me an email at aubin330rta@gmail.com, leave a comment on our website at NE Timegambling.com, or find our beginning Facebook community and join us to add to the discussions.

Waste Site for the expected Wynn Casino

Waste Site for the expected Wynn Casino

July 7th –  of the Associated Press reported  that a group of Massachusetts residents opposed to casinos are challenging the sale of state property to Wynn Resorts, saying the MBTA  failed to comply with the state’s public bidding law when it proposed selling some $6 million worth of land to Wynn for its $1.7 billion casino project on the Everett waterfront. But the lawsuit suggests officials representing the MBTA, Wynn and the city of Everett were in discussions to convey the property without a public bid as early as 2013.

wampanoag-community-center-700x357

Tribal leaders want to turn the long dormant Wampanoag community center into a bingo hall.

Steve Wynn - Annoyed in Everett?

Steve Wynn – Annoyed in Everett?

July 7th – Peter Howe of NECN reported “Legal skirmishing around Las Vegas impresario Steve Wynn’s $1.6 billion casino plan for Everett cranked up” another notch. Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said he has no intention of backing off a 158-page multi-count lawsuit Boston has filed contending the Wynn casino process was shot through with favoritism and shenanigans.

July 13th – NECN reports that the city of Boston says “interviews conducted by state investigators show Wynn Resorts was aware a convicted felon had a stake in land it eyed for a casino.” The city is suing the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to have Wynn’s gambling license revoked. It says commission investigators interviewed at least five witnesses who testified Wynn’s representatives were informed of or actively discussed Charles Lightbody’s ownership stake in the Everett waterfront land before securing an option on it.

View of the Sullivan Square Rotary. (photo by Stuart Cahill)

View of the Sullivan Square Rotary. (photo by Stuart Cahill)

July 13th – Sean P. Murphy of the Boston Globe reports state Attorney General Maura Healey said that “The state should delay its consideration of a crucial environmental permit needed for the construction of a $1.7 billion casino in Everett until an independent traffic study is completed.”  The casino would be built less than a mile from Charlestown’s Sullivan Square, a crossroads of several major roadways in the shadow of a hulking, elevated section of Interstate 93, from which still more traffic pours into the often-congested square. “For this project, that approach is insufficient,” Healey wrote. “We believe it is critical that MassDOT and the Commonwealth benefit from an independent analysis of the traffic impact, paid for by Wynn, before considering” any plans to mitigate traffic impacts.

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Twin River Casino, RI

Larger than most people realize - two large casino floors

Larger than most people realize – two large casino floors

 

 

 

 

 

Plainridge Park Casino

Plainridge Park Casino

July 17th – Casino News Daily reported that in its newest court filings, the city of Boston claims that Wynn Resorts

Will this be New England's Aria?

Wynn Everett

representatives were well-aware that a convicted felon would benefit from his stake in the land where the Las Vegas-based gambling operator is to build its Everett casino. At least five people revealed in interviews with commission investigators that representatives for the casino giant were informed about Charles Lightbody holding a majority stake in the land prior to signing a deal for the 30-acre site where the Everett gaming facility is to be built. Under the state law, criminals are not allowed to profit from casinos. Boston said that the latest findings are crucial to its case, as they indicate that the state Gaming Commission had neglected important issues while considering Wynn Resorts’ application.