Citizens Organization Backs Proposed Massachusetts MGM Casino
This week a citizen’s group in Springfield, Massachusetts, where MGM Resorts has proposed the construction of an $800 million resort casino, threw their support behind the effort. A public referendum will be held on July 16th, with Springfield’s New North Citizens Council saying that they will urge local residents to back the plan when they hit the polls.
Advocacy group is satisfied with MGM impact proposal
On its web site, the New North Citizens’ Council says that its mission is to “to provide advocacy, public and human services to Hampden County residents with an emphasis on Hispanic/Latino community for the purpose of enhancing the preservation and support of the family resulting in the improvement of quality of life.”
José A. Gonzales, who is the president of the organization, sent a letter to Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno as well as the city council to express support for the project.
“MGM Springfield conducted their presentation, heard our concerns, and returned to participate in discussions with us that addressed employment; fair market rents; educational development opportunities; as well as social justice issues that will impact everyone in the City of Springfield. We will focus on getting the word to the residents to come out on July 16th and vote yes for MGM Springfield,” Gonzales wrote.
Previously, the New North Citizens’ Council preferred a different casino proposal for their town, one put forward by Penn National. Mayor Sarno, however, was partial to MGM. The company and the city have already hammered out the terms of a host agreement that has been approved by Springfield’s city council.
Springfield, a western Massachusetts city of about 150,000 people, is perhaps best known as the home of gun manufacturer Smith and Wesson. It is also the second-largest metropolitan area in the state behind that of Boston.
If referendum is a success, next hurdle is licensing
If voters give the MGM project the green light on July 16th, the company will still need to be licensed by Massachusetts gaming regulators. Only one gaming license will be granted for the western region of the state.
MGM clearly welcomes the support of the New North Citizens’ Council. Chief Marketing Office William Hornbuckle said last week, “This well-respected community organization has the best interest of the residents of Springfield in mind.We are honored that they believe in our project and will partner with us to bring out voters for a yes vote on July 16th.”
Next week the Political Action Council of Greater Springfield will host a meeting between MGM Resorts and other community groups to assess the impact of the development on local minorities.
Wynn Company won a similar referendum last month
Gaining voter approval is just one step in the process of winning a casino license in the state of Massachusetts, and it is a test that another major casino company passed with flying colors just last month.
In June, the Wynn Company chalked up a decisive victory in a public referendum held in the city of Everett, Massachusetts. Wynn has planned a $1.2 billion casino resort to be situated along the Mystic River on a polluted parcel of land that was previously the site of a Monsanto Chemical facility.
The Wynn proposal currently awaits approval from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. It is competing for the lone Boston-area license with Suffolk Downs and Foxwoods, which already operates successful properties in neighboring Connecticut.
“The voters of Everett have spoken clearly and decisively. The vote heightens our enthusiasm and dedication to this fine project,” Steve Wynn said last month after his victory at the polls.
Wynn has promised not only to clean up the environmentally contaminated riverfront property, but also to build what he has said will be the finest hotel in Boston, and one that will contain about 600 rooms.