SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – With a unanimous vote, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission decided to award MGM Springfield the state’s first casino license late Friday morning, but it still does not mean a casino in the South End will definitely happen.
The commission voted Friday during a meeting at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield. Casino supporters stood and cheered as the unanimous voice vote came through.
There could have been a major celebration in Springfield Friday night. This was the day MGM was waiting for. The third and could have been final major milestone. First, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno selected MGM over Penn National. Then city voters approved it’s project, before getting the gaming commission to sign off on it.
“This was a very sweet day, but I think the day we won the vote of the residents was an important one, said MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis.
However, despite the agreement and vote, it is far from a done deal. The license will not be received until the issue of repeal is resolved. MGM and other potential Massachusetts casino developers are awaiting a July ruling from the state’s Supreme Judicial Court, which will decide whether to allow a ballot question in November that would repeal the legalization of casino gaming.
“I think its hard to explain how the government can create a law a law that specifically provides for a public debate and a public vote and then to say let’s have a do-over, said MGM CEO James Murren.
MGM won’t officially accept the license until three days after a favorable decision by the court, three days after a favorable vote in November, or not at all if the repeal is enacted by the voters. If this does go to a referendum in November, MGM says they’ll keep on fighting to build a casino in Springfield.
“We are in it to win it, we would see it through to the end, we have invested a lot in the city of Springfield and Springfield wants the resort casino and Springfield deserves it, said MGM Vice President of Community and Public Affairs Kelley Tucky.