MGM Resorts executives were recently summoned by Massachusetts state authorities after the company had decided to cut back on its initial MGM Springfield casino proposal. MGM President William Hornbuckle reassured officials of MGM’s commitment to the Springfield project and stated that his company was willing to invest another $150 million into the project to show the state gaming commission that they really meant business.
MGM Resorts were successful in obtaining a casino license from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission back in June 2014 to build MGM Springfield. MGM Resorts had received approval on the basis of its proposal which committed to spending $800 million and building a 25 story hotel with 250 rooms, a 125,000 square foot casino hall that would consist of a special VIP gaming area, 75 popular table games and 3000 slot machines. MGM Springfield was also expected to create thousands of part time construction jobs and thousands of full time jobs once the casino went live.
MGM surprised the state gaming commission when it recently decided to make changes to its initial proposal and cut down on its initial estimates. The company had decided to drop the 25 story hotel and delay its MGM Springfield opening till 2018 citing traffic issues and rising costs as a reason for cutting back. Analysts predicted that MGM Springfield was reducing the project by nearly 15 percent while MGM Resorts denied those estimates and stated that it was more like 10 percent.
These changes did not go down well with the state gaming association and Massachusetts government officials who felt that MGM was now hedging on its initial promise. Government officials were concerned that these cutbacks would not only reduce the state gaming taxes but would also reduce the number of employment opportunities.
In a statement, MGM Resorts International President Bill Hornbuckle said “I wish it didn’t cost that amount. I wish we could do it for less. But we will honor our commitments.”
One of the main reasons why MGM Resorts initially decided to cut down on the size of its MGM Springfield casino was due to the competition rising from neighboring states such as Connecticut and Rhode Island. MGM initially had plans to lure gamblers from these neighboring states across the border into their Springfield facility. Connecticut decided to counter this poaching threat by authorizing a third tribal casino near the state border, a move which is expected to keep gamblers in Connecticut from crossing the border. MGM Springfield believes that its overall gaming revenues will be reduced by these new casinos and wanted to cut back. Today’s announcement of increased investment should assuage Massachusetts’s officials concerns.