At a public forum organized by the City of Springfield, Penn National Gaming and MGM Resorts, two companies vying for the region’s single casino license, presented their proposals to city residents. Each proposed casino would cost upwards of $800 million dollars.
Both companies spent much of their respective 45-minute presentations highlighting their commitments to the revitalization of Springfield to the over 200 residents in attendance.
Penn National is proposing a casino in the city’s North End on land currently owned by the Republican newspaper and Peter Pan Bus lines, which would require both businesses to relocate. Jay Snowden, vice President of regional operations at Penn National says relocating those businesses would spread economic growth across the city.
“Call it a renaissance, call it a revitalization, we’re going to create economic activity in other areas of Springfield besides just the casino parcel.”
Bill Hornbuckle, president of MGM, which is proposing a casino in the city’s South End, emphasized that the company’s casino would revitalize main street, but also stressed that other entertainment like a cineplex and bowling alley would be on offer at its resort.
“You don’t need to go into the casino, you don’t need to touch that if you don’t choose to, but [it’s] something to reinvigorate, and bring people back downtown.”
Following the presentations, Residents voiced concerns about traffic, crime, jobs, and problem gambling in a question and answer session. But most in attendance expressed support for a casino. Theresa Cooper Gordon of Holyoke, says the presentations convinced her of the regional benefits of a casino as both companies highlighted their support for a number of local non-profits and community organizations.
“I was quite impressed. I was quite impressed with the commitment to give back.”
The developers have until January 3rd to submit formal proposals to the city.