MGM Springfield Opens Its $960 Million Doors, State and Communities Ready to Reap Financial Rewards
Posted on: August 24, 2018, 12:00h.
Last updated on: August 24, 2018, 09:39h.
MGM Springfield became the first integrated casino resort in Massachusetts when it opened its doors on Friday, August 24.
The $960 million complex features a 125,000 square foot casino floor with 2,550 slot machines and 120 table games, 251-room hotel, spa, retail shopping, Topgolf Swing Suite, bowling alley, movie theater, concert arena, and varying restaurants.
This has helped put us on the map,” Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno explained to reporters. “Cities such as Springfield have gone through some tough times. It’s a redefining time, a re-establishment of core urban cities, and MGM has played a pivotal role in that.”
MGM and Wynn Resorts were both awarded full integrated casino resort licenses under the Massachusetts Expanded Gaming Act passed in 2011. One concession remains earmarked for the southeastern region.
Plainridge Park, a slots-only facility, was the first commercial casino to open. The Penn National venue with 1,200 terminals opened in 2015.
It was only in 2011 that seven deadly tornados ripped through Springfield destroying large sections of the Western Massachusetts city. Three people died during the storms, and insurance claims from damage exceeded $140 million.
The tornados followed an economically challenging time for Springfield. Massachusetts’ third most populated city experienced a wave of violent crime during the late 1990s and turn of the century. The FBI ranked it as high as No. 18 on its US “City Crime Rankings.”
But over the last decade, crime has decreased, and business has returned. MGM Springfield is just the latest investment.
“We thought there was an opportunity there. We think the market capture is substantive in terms of location and appeal, the uniqueness of the resort and offerings,” MGM Resorts President Bill Hornbuckle stated. “They [Springfield] have been grossly under-leveraged for years. We can be a catalyst for the city.”
MGM Springfield contracted roughly 2,000 workers to build the casino resort, and more than 3,000 permanent employees have been hired to operate the property.
In addition to paying an upfront $85 million licensing fee to the state, MGM Springfield will share 25 percent of its gross gambling revenue. Of those taxes, 20 percent will remain in the community for local aid.
Springfield received more than $15 million from MGM during construction to cover the city’s associated costs with welcoming the major construction development. Moving forward, the town will receive $2.5 million annually from the casino to help fund its police and fire departments, as well as area schools.
Neighboring communities of Agawam, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Holyoke, Longmeadow, Ludlow, West Springfield, and Wilbraham will also receive annual compensation from MGM Resorts.
Tourism officials believe MGM’s design for the Springfield casino will encourage visitors to venture out and experience the city.
“They made a very conscious effort to integrate the resort with downtown Springfield,” Springfield Museums President Kay Simpson stated. “They will be encouraging their guests … to explore downtown Springfield.”