Gaming commission denies MGM's appeals, plans to award western M - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Gaming commission denies MGM's appeals, plans to award western Mass. casino license June 13

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A rendering of MGM's $800 million resort and casino proposal in Springfield's South End neighborhood. A rendering of MGM's $800 million resort and casino proposal in Springfield's South End neighborhood.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
A rendering of MGM Springfield. A rendering of MGM Springfield.
A rendering of the theater at MGM Springfield. A rendering of the theater at MGM Springfield.
A rendering of the shopping center at MGM Springfield. A rendering of the shopping center at MGM Springfield.
BOSTON, MA (WSHM) -

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) announced during a public meeting Friday morning that, barring any setbacks, their target date to award the Region B western Mass. casino license is June 13.

MGM Resorts International has proposed an $800 million casino plan for downtown Springfield. MGM is the only casino left in the running.

At the meeting at the Boston Convention Center on Friday morning, John Ziemba, an ombudsmen to the MGC, said that June 13 is the target date to award the western Mass. permit.

Representatives from West Springfield and Longmeadow were at Friday's meeting discussing the impact on their communities. MGM appealed the arbitration regarding financial payments to both towns, claiming that there were "fundamental inconsistencies" in the arbitrator's decisions. The gaming commission unanimously denied both of MGM's appeals.

The commission announced Wednesday the findings of the arbitration agreement with Longmeadow. The town will receive a payment of $850,000 followed by 13 annual payments of $275,000. The baseline value of the agreement is roughly $4.2 million, which is $4 million short of their previous proposal made in December.

The casino would be located along Interstate 91 between State and Union streets. It would incorporate 10 acres of land along a three-block radius in the city's downtown area. The resort features would include 89,000 square feet of gaming, a 250-room hotel, and 70,000 square feet of shops and restaurants.

Earlier this month MGM asked the gaming commission to grant it a provisional license so the company can start construction on its $800 million project.

During a MGC hearing in Boston last week, MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis said that MGM risks losing about $200 million in state fees and other payments because of doubt around efforts to revoke Massachusetts' 2011 casino law. Mathis asked the MGC to grant MGM a temporary license that did not require the initial state fees, but essentially gave MGM the rights of a full casino license holder.

Mathis' request comes before the Massachusetts State Supreme Court hears arguments May 5 after an appeal was brought by a group that wants to place an anti-casino vote on the ballot in the upcoming November election.

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