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 Has Mastered the Art of the Stunt – David Collins

I’ve always thought it was lazy to just promote someone else’s post in place of mine, but today is the exception.

While reading the morning paper, I came upon David Collins’s article in The Day.

Bravo!

(standing up, clapping, and getting a strange look from my wife)

David Collins is Genius. Bravo! Bravo!

What was I excited about?  His OpEd on the recent MGM bomb dropped on Connecticut concerning a casino in Bridgeport.  After yesterday’s NETG post MGM Bridgeport Casino – All The Angles, explaining the many considerations and connections involved with a Bridgeport Casino in CT, I was wondering if I was objective enough, or maybe too objective.

David Collins, New London Day Columnist

Then David Collins comes along today and says so articulately what many of us think in MGM’s meddling in CT’s affairs.

THIS IS A MUST READ.

So, without further ado, click on this post by David Collins.

MGM Has Mastered the Art of the Stunt – David Collins

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did at NETG.  You can contact David Collins at email  d.collins@theday.com & Twitter  DavidCollinsct

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MGM Springfield Winning the Casino War?

How successful will MGM Springfield be?  It’s supposed to be different from all the other MGM properties, and almost all of the American brick-and-mortar casinos open at this moment.

Main St. in Springfield, Mass., 1910.

There is a lot of excitement in Springfield these days.  There is a lot of hope as well.  Much of it depends on what MGM Springfield will bring to a city looking for a break, looking for a chance to crawl out of financial and cultural hole it has been stuck in for decades. Overall decline of industry throughout the northeastern U.S. during the 1980s and 1990s seemed to be the catalyst for the city’s decline, and Springfield developed a national reputation for crime, political corruption and cronyism, which stands in stark contrast to the reputation it enjoyed throughout much of U.S. history.

Now,  the third-largest city in Massachusetts is getting help from MGM International, helping it rise from the ashes with financial backing, jobs for it’s area residents and promise for tourism, the arts, and it’s city’s reputation.

G. Michael Dobbs, of the Reminder News, reported on an article by analyst Howard Jay Klein. Mr. Dobbs said he wanted “….to see what other people think about the MGM Springfield project.”  Mr. Klein had some keen insights.

As Dobbs mentioned in his article, “Klein was looking at the management tactics on the company and compared the MGM approach to plate spinning. ….. you might remember those acts on “The Ed Sullivan Show” where a guy would first balance plates on tall rods and then set them spinning. His skill was keeping the plates spinning and not falling.” Klein questioned whether or not MGM management has too many plates spinning.

The plates, of course, are the many casino/resorts MGM has across the country, with one of those plates representing MGM Springfield.

Consider the following, some pros, some cons – some both:

  1. MGM Springfield is a downtown site – a new gamble MGM calls an “urban casino.”
  2. It’s due to open in mid 2018 – slightly ahead of its original due date.
  3. Its competition will include – Plainridge Park Casino & Raceway, run by Penn National Gaming that’s already open as Massachusetts’s first casino
  4. a mega property from Wynn to be opened in 2019 at Everett near Boston

    Steve Wynn with his rendition of Wynn Boston Harbor

  5. The two Connecticut tribal properties as well as the consideration of one or even two added casinos in Connecticut.  To be fair, the reality of additional casinos in CT is looking bleak at this date.
  6. The new casino in New York State, Rivers Casino, in Schenectady is located just over 100 miles from downtown Springfield and has already drawn thousands of visitors from upstate New York, as well as Western Massachusetts. Rivers Vice President of Marketing Danny Brockdorf said, “Our customers are more likely be out here, make a day trip — we do have the resort to really cater to folks who are already coming into town…..I don’t see much of an impact from MGM Springfield.”

    Rivers Casino, Schenectady, NY

According to Klein, “This one’s [MGM Springfield] is facing very rocky soil in our consensus view and at best be a marginal contributor…..”

NETimeGambling doesn’t agree with Mr. Klein’s assessment. We think MGM Springfield will be a viable competitor for these reasons:

  • Connecticut has lost the many battles that MGM has thrown at its third casino project.
  • The city of Springfield is “drooling” over the possible future and will do anything to make their better future come true.
  • MGM Springfield will bringing sports and cultural events to bring tourists to Springfield’s historical city district.  MGM Springfield is planning a strategic partnership between the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority and MGM Resorts International in order to help bring world-class entertainment to the MassMutual Center. Additional entertainment amenities that will complement the resort, including retail space, food/beverage venues, a state of the art movie theater with six screens, a luxury bowling facility and an outdoor plaza that will feature large dynamic video displays and outdoor areas for events including expeditions, art shows and similar functions.
  • MGM has pledged to create about 3,000 permanent jobs to benefit the local community job market.

    Mass Mutual Civic Center, Springfield, MA

  • MGM has loyal fans across the country.  The closest are MGM National Harbor in Washington D.C. and Borgata in Atlantic City, both highly successful.

MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis has expressed optimism about his casino’s prospects in spite all the eminent competition saying, “Of course we’re aware of all competition — the Schenectady facility has been on our radar ever since the license was issued. … Generally we feel regardless of the type of competition in the market that MGM facilities have the ability to grow the market in our unique destinations, and that’s proven out with our early success in National Harbor right outside of D.C.”

MGM National Harbor

The eventual success or disappointment in MGM Springfield’s expectations will have plenty of time to be evaluated.  But, right now, my crystal ball is very cloudy from Connecticut’s mess and legislative delay. MGM International should be able to open by 2018 with little, if any competition at all.

MGM has won many battles – the clincher may be winning the war.

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