Gaming Commission Staff Gives Conditional OK to MGM in Bid for Springfield Casino

MGM Resorts appears to have cleared a major hurdle in its quest to build an $800 million casino in Springfield.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission staff is recommending that MGM be allowed to proceed with its casino bid, as long as it deals with certain issues.

One of those issues: a former MGM board member, Terry Christensen, who was indicted and convicted of wiretapping and conspiracy, and even after the indictment continued to advise MGM executives and attend board meetings.

Stephen Crosby, chair of the gaming commission, says MGM’s past mistakes won’t necessarily disqualify it from winning a casino license.

“We have looked into many things that have gone on before and really the issue is: How does the company deal with it?” Crosby told reporters Monday. “So yes – we have sort of a presumption to move on if we have confidence about how people have fixed problems.”

Current MGM Board Member Roland Hernandez acknowledged errors in judgment in the Christensen matter.

“We absolutely recognize the severity of it,” he said. “There were lapses.  We don’t deny there were lapses.”

MGM also answered questions about the company’s business practices at its casino resort in Macau and compliance with the foreign corrupt practices act.

The gaming commission is expected to vote on MGM’s suitability within the next few days. It is the only company still bidding for the sole Western Massachusetts casino license.