Massachusetts gambling regulators on Friday gave their approval to a US$800 million MGM Resorts International casino in the state. MGM Resorts is the first casino operator to get a licence in the state.
The decision comes after a two-year process of hearings and background investigations culminating in a final week of hearings and deliberations.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) voted unanimously on Friday to approve granting the licence to MGM.
The commission’s chairman Stephen Crosby said the project captures the “spirit” and “aspirations” that state leaders envisioned when they opened the door for resort-style casino gambling in Massachusetts in 2011.
The 2011 law allows for three resort-style casinos with hotels, slots and table games, plus one slots-only facility.
MGM Resorts formally announced its interest in a casino resort in Springfield in August 2012. At one time there was a field of five companies vying for the sole Western Massachusetts casino licence.
Jim Murren, chief executive of MGM Resorts, said the company would work with government leaders, residents and businesses to move the project forward. “We thank the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for its thorough vetting process and look forward to continuing our work,” Mr Murren said in a statement.
MGM Springfield, scheduled to open in early 2017, is expected to generate 3,000 jobs and US$25 million annually for Springfield’s coffers. The project will include a 25-floor hotel, 3,000 slot machines and 75 gaming tables, the company said.
On Friday, Massachusetts gambling regulators also voted to put on hold a US$85 million state licensing fee, as casinos still face the threat of a ballot repeal of the casino law. The state’s highest court is expected to decide next month whether to allow a repeal question on the November ballot.
Wynn Resorts Ltd and Mohegan Sun are still battling for a casino resort licence in Boston. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission expects a decision there in late summer.
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