Big E Fails Before Mass. Gaming Commission

A setback on Monday for the Eastern States Exposition, and a win for casino company MGM.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted 3 to 2 on Monday afternoon to deny the Big E protected status if MGM wins a casino license for downtown Springfield.

The Big E’s lawyer, Mark Cress, says if the casino takes even a small bite of the exposition’s revenue, it could ruin it.

“Eastern States Exposition is not the bad guy here. These are not-for-profit people trying to protect and institution – a 100 year old institution,” Cress told the commission. “And the way that MGM has handled itself throughout this process is really troublesome.”

The Big E and MGM had worked toward a settlement, but came up short. The casino company has agreed not to host any live events during the 17-day summer festival.

The Eastern States Exposition previously tried to get a casino on its grounds, but voters in West Springfield rejected the proposal in September.