Massachusetts First Commercial Casino to Open on August 24th

Massachusetts First Commercial Casino to Open on August 24th

In June 2015, New Englanders were excited to see the first slot parlor open for business in Massachusetts. Three years later, and another milestone event is set to take place this week after the state’s first commercial casino, the $960-million MGM Springfield, celebrates its grand opening on Friday, August 24th.

MGM Springfield

Costing almost one billion dollars to build, MGM Springfield is a huge 2 million-square-foot development featuring a six-story 250-roomed hotel with an entrance located on the intersection of Main and Howard Street. Amongst the many attractions that visitors will be able to enjoy is a 125,000-square-foot casino featuring 120 table games and 2,550 slot machines, and numerous shops and restaurant, in addition to bowling center, Topgolf Swing Suite, Regal Cinema movie theater, and 8,000-square-foot pool.

Furthermore, an outdoor plaza will be the setting for live events throughout the year, including farmers’ markets, car shows, live music, and outdoor games, while parking will be free, with a 3,400-space parking garage ensuring that guests can visit the resort with ease.

No Smoking

Massachusetts’ gambling regulations require that all gaming venues in the state must be smoke-free, meaning once open MGM Springfield will become one of around 800 casinos across the country where smoking is not allowed. Instead, MGM Springfield will offer outdoor designated areas for smoking. Casinos have increasingly been trying to appeal to millennials in order to bolster their businesses, and as highlighted by the website, this generational group has a very low rate of smoking, and as such expect a smoke-free environment when visiting casinos.

Commenting further on the restriction, Saverio Mancini, Director Of Communications at MGM Springfield, stated that while “regional gaming competition, driving distance, weather and socioeconomic conditions” may have a major impact on casino revenues, he doesn’t expect being non-smoking to have much of an effect on the business.

Economic Benefits

MGM Springfield is already on course to hire 3,000 employees at the resort, as promised, with 36.6% of jobs thus far going to Springfield residents, and 52.8% to minorities. As Wanda Gispert, MGM Resorts Regional VP of Talent & Workforce Development, explains:

“At MGM, we never stop hiring and looking for exceptional local talent. Our local partnerships have been key to our hiring success. We are well on our way to exceeding many workforce goals that were set for MGM Springfield, but to keep pace and support a 24-hour, 365-day resort, we can’t slow down now.”

Gambling in Massachusetts

There are currently no Native American casinos in Massachusetts, although the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, which received federal recognition in 2007, was granted approval to build a casino resort in Taunton. However, the First Light Casino, representing a joint partnership project with Genting Malaysia, was halted after lawsuits were issued by locals opposing the move, resulting in the development being in limbo ever since.

Meanwhile, Governor Deval Patrick in 2011 signed off on a bill to allow three casinos and one slot parlor in Massachusetts. Plainridge Park Casino, a harness racing track, subsequently opened in June 2015, while MGM Springfield is scheduled to open this week, and the $2 billion Wynn Boston Harbor sometime next summer. All the licenses have been granted for different geographical areas of the state, with the uncertainty following the Mashpee Wampanoag case leading to the final casino license being put on hold for now in the southeastern part of the state.

Once fully operational, the state’s casino market is expected to provide a significant boost for its economy, with some analysts predicting it will create as many as 15,000 jobs, and generate around $300 million in annual tax revenues. Nevertheless, last year Plainridge Park Casino collected just $164.8 million in gross gambling revenues, of which $88 million was paid in taxes. While its revenue figure was 6% higher than the $155 million collected in 2016, overall business was still half what initial forecasts had suggested.