Springfield Casino Developers Meet City Deadline, Mohegan Sun Yet to Submit State Application

Penn National Gaming and MGM Resorts, two casino companies vying for a casino license in Springfield, met the city’s second phase application deadline Thursday. Now the city will review the applications and determine whether to negotiate a host community agreement with one or both companies. But to the east in Palmer, Mohegan Sun of Connecticut, has also proposed a casino, and is looking ahead to the state’s upcoming application deadline. 

Mohegan Sun has been eyeing a Palmer casino since 2007, several years before casino gambling was legalized in Massachusetts. But unlike the two companies looking to develop in Springfield, Mohegan Sun has yet to submit an application and the $400,000 fee to the state gaming commission. But a Mohegan Sun spokesman says the company plans to file its application in time for the state’s January 15th deadline.

Meanwhile, Northeast Gaming Group, the company that owns the land where Mohegan Sun has proposed its casino, is threatening to sue one of its early investors, Peter Picknelly. He is the CEO of Peter Pan Bus Lines and invested $500,000 in Northeast in early 2008. But since last summer, Picknelly has been a 50-50 partner with Penn National for a proposed casino in Springfield’s North End. 

Stephen Spelman, an attorney for Northeast, says it expects Picknelly to divest from Penn National.

“As we’ve told them, we are prepared to go forward in the Superior Court to bring a suit if we have to against Mr. Picknelly. We’d prefer not to, we’d prefer that he just live up to his obligations of good faith and fair dealing to Northeast Gaming Group.”

Spelman claims Picknelly is still a partner in Northeast. But in a statement, Picknelly says he was only an investor. He says that Northeast’s claims are “completely frivolous and smack of desperation,” saying Mohegan Sun is now an outsider in the race for the region’s single casino license. But Spelman says Mohegan Sun has nearly completed a host community agreement with Palmer, putting it ahead of companies in Springfield.