Springfield is inching closer to getting a casino.
The state gaming commission plans to spend most of next week on the final stages of licensing MGM Resorts International to build the only casino in the state's western region. MGM's $800 million proposal would cover almost 15 acres of downtown Springfield with a gambling and entertainment resort.
But the state's casino law is being threatened by a possible repeal. So, MGM wants the commission to delay the final licensing process until the state's highest court decides whether the repeal question will be put to voters.
WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer speaks with an MGM executive about the company's concerns.
- "MGM Resorts International is the last company remaining in a once crowded field of competitors battling for the sole Massachusetts gaming license to be awarded in the western region of the state."
- "State regulators are busy licensing casinos in Massachusetts, but a WBUR poll finds voters want a say on whether gambling should even be allowed. The survey found 52 percent of voters in favor of a proposed ballot question on casinos and 39 percent opposed."
- "It is difficult to overstate how much Springfield’s political leaders are counting on MGM to be the 'economic engine' that will drive the rebirth of a city tormented by an annual unemployment rate above 10 percent for the past five years. But what the city is trying to do with MGM, analysts say, has never been done before: using a gambling-based business to bring back an economically distressed urban downtown."
This segment aired on June 5, 2014.