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MGM: Financial losses won’t prevent Springfield casino

Date: 8/29/2013

By G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD – There is no reason to be concerned locally that MGM Resorts International had a loss of $93 million in the second quarter of 2013, according to Alan Feldman, the company’s executive vice president of Global Government & Industry Affairs.

Speaking to Reminder Publications, Feldman said the loss would not affect the construction of a MGM casino in Springfield, should the company be awarded the license.

Nor should Springfield residents be concerned about the impact of Internet gaming on proposed casinos.

“MGM is financially healthy and sound and is paying its bills,” Feldman said.

The loss is actually an improvement from a $145.5 million loss from the same time a year ago.

Feldman explained the decrease in loss is an indication of how the company is managing its debt, which the company acquired in 2009 and 2010.

“We got squeezed and had a lot of debt,” he said. Feldman emphasized the company never sought any legal means for debt relief, but rather just kept paying it down.

He also noted that during this period the company was able to open its CityCenter development in Las Vegas, Nev., which the New York Times reported cost the company and its development partner $8.5 billion to build.

“We’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish financially,” he said.

Feldman said the MGM casino in Springfield with an estimated construction cost of $800 million could be financed in a variety of ways.

“We have all kinds of options,” he added.

Gaming industry sites recently reported how MGM is working with both Nevada and New Jersey to develop legal Internet gaming and Feldman said this effort can be seen and an outreaching of the MGM brand to largely a different customer base.

Although he added there may be some overlap, he sees a separation “at least for today.” Feldman said Internet gaming might mean more to the “next generation.”

He added, “[Internet gaming] is absolutely seen as a complement.”

He explained that currently Internet gaming is a $6 billion business in the United States and a $100 billion worldwide. Feldman explained there are no federal laws that regulate Internet gaming, so it has been left up to each state to set up a legal infrastructure for the business.

Although the company is still hoping the federal government puts “minimal standards in place,” the company is moving ahead working with the state of Nevada, he added.

With the states setting up regulations, only the residents of that state would be able to use that gaming site, Feldman said. What MGM is doing is working with officials in New Jersey to enter into a compact with Nevada that would allow residents of both states to gamble on-line.

Feldman said then other states could join the compact to allow Internet gaming for their residents. He said there are four to six states that are exploring Internet gaming at this time.