SPRINGFIELD – MGM Springfield is preparing for the start of construction with its groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for 11 a.m. outside of the former Zanetti School on Howard Street on March 24.
The groundbreaking announcement coincided with the release of a research report on gaming in the Northeast on March 6. According to the report, MGM Springfield is expected to have a major impact on the revenues of the two Connecticut casinos when it is completed.
Despite the delay caused by the referendum vote last fall, Carole Brennan, MGM Springfield spokesperson told Reminder Publications the $800 million casino resort project is “slated to open in fall 2017.”
Speaking for the campaign brought by opponents of casino gaming in the Commonwealth, Brennan said, “Yes. It slowed progress since we received our approval for a license in June, but we had to wait until November for the outcome of the referendum in order to be certain we could move forward.”
She added, “Subject to all final permits and approvals we plan to start demolition soon after our March 24 groundbreaking.”
Although the renovations to the Interstate 91 viaduct will be undertaken at the same time as the MGM construction Brennan said, “We don’t anticipate any delays due to the viaduct. Our team continues to coordinate with Massachusetts Department of Transportation in the hope of minimal disruption to the public.”
MGM announced the appointment of Brian Packer as vice president of Development and Construction to oversee the construction of the project.
The company also will be seeking bids from contractors for Mass excavation; underground mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP’s) and site utilities; as well as foundation and waterproofing services. Contractor should call 735-3000 for appointments. MEPs and site utilities appointments will be scheduled on March 19, and foundations and waterproofing appointments will be scheduled for March 26.
MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis said, “As certain aspects of the construction phase become the next priority we will rollout this meeting process to get the right people for each piece of this design. Every introductory meeting has the potential to put workers on site and bring new life in the South End of Springfield. We want to have as many conversations as possible.”
This week, several Connecticut newspapers including The Day and the Republican-American reported the leaders of the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes are speaking to state lawmakers about the possibility of opening at least one new casino positioned to intercept Connecticut residents who would be on route to MGM Springfield.
A report from the Northeastern Gaming Research Project said, “During the same period [2004 to 2014] expenditures by Massachusetts residents at Connecticut’s two casinos has fallen from a peak of $889.3 million in Calendar Year (CY) 2005 to $475.6 million in CY 2014 (-46.5 percent).”
The question is how much more would it fall with the establishment of the Massachusetts casinos, the report noted.
The author of the report, Dr. Clyde Barrow, added, “The end of the revenue erosion at Connecticut’s two casinos remains elusive as Massachusetts and New York prepare to enter the resort casino market over the next three years. A significant portion of the revenue decline is a direct result of increased competition in the Northeastern gaming market.”
Barrow continued, “Consequently, many gaming industry analysts predict that what happened to Atlantic City will also happen to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun once Massachusetts and New York open new resort casinos. For example, casino consultant Gary Green has suggested that Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun Casino will be ‘completely cannibalized’ by new casinos in Massachusetts (quoted in Arsenault 2014) and this claim is supported by the patron origin data collected by the Northeastern Gaming Research Project.”