How The Mass. Casino Industry Stands As 2016 Begins

Dec 30, 2015

It’s been a big year for the casino industry in Massachusetts. The state’s first expanded gambling facility opened in June. The Plainridge Park Casino has 1,250 slot machines and a racetrack. And bigger casino proposals in Boston and Springfield are closer to becoming realities.

Here’s what’s changed over the past year:

Falling Revenues In Plainville

MGM Resorts International is planning to start demolishing buildings in mid-January to clear the site in downtown Springfield where the company intends to build the first casino in western Massachusetts.  2015 was a year of delay and downsizing for the casino project.

When MGM held the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Springfield casino in late March with the former Zanetti school building as the backdrop for photographs with construction workers and machinery no one would have predicted the building would still be standing nine months later.

Willle Stark / Flickr Creative Commons

Coincidences happen to everyon, wwhether it's hearing a song you've been thinking about all day on the radio, or running into an old acquaintance whose name recently came up in conversation. For events so seemingly unlikely, coincidences certainly have a way of happening quite often. And now, after much study, psychologists and mathematicians think they know why.

MGM Springfield / Courtesy The Springfield Republican photo desk

The Springfield City Council voted Monday to approve a zoning ordinance outlining the footprint of MGM’s casino. The vote is another procedural step in bringing the project to fruition. 

MGM Springfield

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission unanimously approved a plan on Thursday that will allow MGM Springfield to begin construction on its proposed $950 million casino in the city's downtown.

Mohegan Sun is showing off progress on its new hotel development in Uncasville, a project that tribal chairman Kevin Brown said proves its commitment to its roots. 

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Monday he would not lift the ban on Pete Rose, meaning the legendary hitter also will not be eligible for the Hall of Fame, according to current rules.


MGM continues to defend design changes for its Springfield casino, this time before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which held a public meeting in the city Thursday.

The latest plans by MGM Resorts International for building a casino in Springfield will be carefully scrutinized in the next few weeks by local officials and Massachusetts gaming industry regulators.  The public will also have opportunities to comment.

The city of Springfield’s Office of Planning and Economic Development has announced it has received a complete site plan application for the MGM casino project triggering a 30-day internal review and setting the stage for a public hearing by the city council within 45 days.

Connecticut's two federally recognized tribes are asking the communities interested in hosting a new casino near the Massachusetts border to move ahead with their local approval processes.

Final plans have been filed for the MGM Springfield casino project.

The filing of the final complete site plan for the project, announced by city officials Monday, triggers a 30-day review and the requirement the City Council hold a public hearing within 45-days.

At a public presentation on the casino project in Springfield last week, the city’s deputy director of  planning, Phil Dromey said his department is anxious to complete the regulatory reviews.

" It is time really to get to the nuts and bolts of this," he said.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is scheduled to come to Springfield on December 3 for a public meeting where officials from MGM are expected to present a comprehensive cost and design analysis of the latest plans for a casino in the city.

MGM officials say the budget to develop a resort casino in Springfield has increased to $950 million -- $150 million more than the estimated investment when the gaming commission awarded a license for the project in June 2014.

MGM has reaffirmed its commitment to build a resort casino in Springfield, Massachusetts and now plans to spend an additional $150 million in the project.

MGM will invest $950 million to develop the resort casino in Springfield despite design changes that reduce the size of the project, and eliminate a 25-story hotel tower.

MGM President Bill Hornbuckle announced the new budget for the project at a presentation Wednesday night for city officials and residents. 

Springfield leaders have invited representatives of MGM Resorts to a public conference to explain recent changes to its $800 million casino project. 

The Tiverton Town Council is slated to hold a public hearing Monday on Twin River’s Tiverton casino proposal. 

Twin River wants to build a two-story, 85-thousand square foot casino in a remote part of Tiverton very close to the Massachusetts border. The council may vote to support the plan, or it could wait to vote on it at another time.

MGM officials will have a chance next week to explain to a skeptical public the reasons behind the proposed downsizing of the Springfield casino.

  City officials have arranged for MGM to make a public presentation Wednesday afternoon at the 300 seat City Stage theater.  MGM has been under fire in Springfield since disclosing last month, in a regulatory filing, plans to reduce the scope of the project by 14 percent.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno has said his administration is carefully reviewing the proposed changes.


The Connecticut state lottery has suspended one of its games because of possible manipulation by retailers for their own gain.


Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is booting the three historical commission members who previously opposed MGM’s design plans. The mayor’s office denies there’s a connection.

Deadline Passes for Connecticut Tribal Casino Proposals

Nov 6, 2015
Bill Lile / Creative Commons

Connecticut communities interested in hosting a new tribal casino faced a closing date to submit their proposals.

Massachusetts gaming industry regulators are soliciting public comment on MGM’s proposed changes to the Springfield casino project.

In its most recent regulatory filing on the design changes, MGM says it expects as much as an 8 percent drop in casino traffic.

Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby and the other commissioners want to know the reasons for the proposed changes and the possible impact on jobs and revenue.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The budget talks now have a number. Legislative leaders and Governor Dannel Malloy have agreed -- roughly -- on the size of Connecticut budget hole. 

Willle Stark / Flickr

Coincidences happen to everyone -- whether it's hearing a song you've been thinking about all day on the radio or running into an old acquaintance whose name recently came up in conversation. For events so seemingly unlikely, coincidences certainly have a way of happening quite often. And now, after much study, psychologists and mathematicians think they know why.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Members of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which owns Foxwoods Resort Casino, have re-elected its chairman and treasurer.

The top executive from MGM Resorts International reaffirmed his commitment to the Massachusetts casino project in Springfield this week and apologized for a communications breakdown with City Hall over a proposal to reduce the scope of the development. He also said more changes are in store for the $800 million project, but nothing he would consider major.

MGM Springfield

The head of MGM Resorts said the company made a mistake by not communicating a 14 percent reduction in size of the casino project to Springfield leaders.

After what Mayor Domenic Sarno described as “a frank discussion”, he said he accepts MGM’s apology for not giving him a heads-up about the casino design changes. MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren took the blame.