MGM Springfield August 24 Opening Has Law Enforcement on High Alert

Posted on: August 18, 2018, 12:00h. 

Last updated on: August 18, 2018, 09:22h.

MGM Springfield will officially open its $960 million doors next week on August 24 at 11 am ET. When it does, law enforcement will have a heightened presence around the property during its first week in operation.

MGM Springfield casino security
City officials say they’re doing everything they can to keep MGM Springfield safe and secure. (Image: WAMC/MGM Springfield/

Local officials detailed security procedures on Wednesday in an effort to assure the community that safety is of utmost concern.

“We are letting everyone know you are going to have a clean, safe, and enjoyable time here in the city of Springfield for the MGM opening,” Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno stated. “We feel confident. There has been a lot of hard work put into this. With any plan you always assess what is going on in real-time.”

Along with the 40 officers in the Springfield Police Department’s Metro Unit, Sarno said 50 supplemental officers will assist in the casino’s opening week. Tactical response teams and two emergency operations centers will additionally be staffed and on standby.

MGM Springfield will feature 125,000 square feet of gaming space with 2,550 slot machines and 120 gaming tables. The casino will be accompanied by a 250-room hotel, five eateries, spa, bowling alley, and 8,000-seat entertainment venue.

Preparing for Worst

When MGM Springfield opens, it will be less than a year since the worst mass shooting in modern US history took place at one of the casino operator’s casinos. The October 1 massacre in Las Vegas is still fresh on everyone’s mind, and law enforcement in Massachusetts are readying for a worst-case scenario.

“The goal would be to rapidly allow police to get into the area and secure the safety of people waiting to get into MGM or egressing MGM,” Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri said of such an event.

The commissioner added that city dump trucks will be used to prevent vehicles from driving down certain streets where pedestrian traffic will be heavy.

MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis added that he has great confidence in the security arrangements. Sarno said more than $13 million will be spent annually by the city for downtown law enforcement.

MGM Paying Up

Under MGM’s Host Community Agreement with the City of Springfield, the casino operator must pay the town $15.15 before opening. Officials say the company has lived up to the terms.

MGM will then pay $2.5 million annually to Springfield to help fund its police and fire departments, as well as its schools. The casino will also share between 0.125 percent and one percent of its gross gambling revenues, with the host agreement predicting that will be around $1.3 million each year.

MGM will deliver the city another $2.5 million annually for its Community Development Grant, and write checks covering payment in lieu of property taxes of $17.6 million. Along with several other fees, the casino will direct more than $26 million annually into the city’s coffers.

MGM additionally has surrounding community agreements with Longmeadow, West Springfield, Holyoke, Agawam, Chicopee, Ludlow, and Wilbraham. Most of those arrangements require the casino to pay between $75,000 and $375,000 each year.