Springfield Massachusetts officials have postponed making a decision about which of two casino resort proposals the city will enter into an agreement with. The announcement was initially scheduled for this past Friday. The decision by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno as to who will get to sign a host community agreement to develop a casino resort in the city will now come in February. City officials say the move follows a decision to extend the deadline for casino developers to submit their proposals to the city from December 14th to January 3rd. Kevin Kennedy, Springfield’s Chief Economic Development Officer, says it made sense to change the date about announcing whether MGM Resorts or Penn National Gaming or both would be able to negotiate a host agreement with the city as required by the state’s new gambling law. He says moving the date three weeks ahead gives the two committees composed of City department heads and citizens enough time to thoroughly review both developers’ proposals, as well as the casino consultant’s report on traffic mitigation, urban planning and other issues, before making a recommendation to Mayor Sarno.
“After the Mayor makes his decision on February 11th, we would expect that we’ll enter into host community negotiations with one or two of the operators. it will probably be a six to eight week process. We then need to go the City Council, and it will be up to the City Council to accept our recommendation. And at that point and time, we will be waiting for the Mass Gaming Commission to make their decision on financial suitability of the operators. And once we know that, we’ll be able to set an election date.”
Kennedy says a best case scenario would have the referendum before Springfield voters in late June.