Ameristar Unveils its Casino Plans in Springfield
Following a presentation by MGM Resorts in August, Ameristar Tuesday became the second of three developers to unveil details of what their Springfield casino would look like. Las Vegas-based Ameristar Casinos wants to build a $910 million resort on 40-acres it owns in East Springfield, just off Interstate 291, minutes from downtown. The 150,000 square foot casino would include a 500-room luxury hotel, a conference and entertainment center, and a mix of locally owned and nationally-known restaurants, like Wolfgang Puck. C-E-O Gordon Kanofsky says, unlike competing downtown casino proposals by MGM Resorts and Penn National Gaming, Ameristar's location does not displace exiting businesses or residences. And, he says, once a license is awarded by the state gaming commission, Ameristar can start building its resort sooner and provide the quickest economic boost over other proposals.
“We've got 40 acres of cleared land here, we’ll need a little bit of finishing up on design work, but we're going to get started on construction right away. And we're going to hire permanent workers for Ameristar sooner. We're going to be open 12 to 18 months faster than anybody could be downtown.”
And, Kanofsky says, Ameristar would build a $58 million I-291 interchange that would not only provide quick and easy access to the casino but help reduce existing local traffic congestion, something he says the competing proposals won't do. Springfield City Councilor Ken Shea says while Ameristar's proposal appears to be best at addressing the traffic issue, it's too soon to tell which proposal would be best for Springfield.
“This is just the dog and pony show on the beginning, and they're all going to give us a nice dog and pony show. So we've got to see the details as they say the devil's in the details or however that goes. And that's what we've got to see in all of them, and we haven't seen those details from anybody yet.”
Shea says he's still waiting to see what kind of resort casino Penn National Gaming plans to propose for Springfield. A spokesman for Penn National says the company plans to unveil its vision sometime within the next four weeks.