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Springfield Officials Vow to Preserve Community Integrity Amid Potential MGM Casino Sale

Thursday 11 de April 2024 / 12:00

2 minutos de lectura

(Springfield).- In the face of reports suggesting that MGM Resorts might sell its casinos in Springfield and Ohio, city officials in Springfield, Massachusetts, are closely monitoring the situation.

Springfield Officials Vow to Preserve Community Integrity Amid Potential MGM Casino Sale

It has been three weeks since a report by Bloomberg News that MGM Resorts might be looking to offload casinos in Springfield and Ohio. The article mentioned MGM had been “working with financial advisers” on the matter, but that talks were "preliminary" and might not even lead to anything.

Still, the news traveled fast and, within 24 hours, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said he would meet with MGM Resorts International CEO and President, Bill Hornbuckle. That meeting has since come and gone, with Sarno's office releasing a statement saying more talks are to come and calling the situation "an ongoing process."

He emphasized to WAMC that regardless of what happens, he'll be enforcing the city's host community agreement. That is, if a sale were to actually happen.

"If - and if - a sale does go through with MGM - for anything that is not adequate to come to the city of Springfield - of course I'm going to enforce that ironclad host community agreement,” the mayor said. “So, let's see what it is or what it isn't." That community agreement dates back to well before MGM Springfield opened in 2018.

City Council Vice President Melvin Edwards previously told WAMC the city made it a point of insulating itself during negotiations, locking in yearly payments that weren't entirely tied to gaming revenues. Back in January 2023, MGM reported it had, up until that point, paid some $107 million to the city in taxes since its opening.

In the event of a sale, which would be scrutinized and overseen by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, any new owner of the casino would also still be bound to the community host agreement, though it could petition for changes.

It's an arrangement touted by a number of elected officials in the city, including Springfield State Senator Adam Gomez. "What's evident is that I think that we have an ironclad host community agreement, that I think it would be hard for the city to 'take the L,'" Gomez said.

The initial news still raised alarms for local lawmakers, including Springfield State Rep. Carlos González, who tells WAMC he reached out to the MGC.

He said he sent a letter to the commission and also met with several commissioners.

"I think they basically reacted concerned but, I think they need to go back as the whole gaming commission and be able to look at what is being presented, if anything, from MGM at this point, which I haven't heard they are making any real decisions on this," González said.

Meanwhile, Springfield City Council President Michael Fenton says he wasn't surprised to hear that a company of MGM International’s size might be "kicking the tires" on different possibilities for its properties and potential scenarios.

"I would also point out that this is not the first time that there's been a public rumor/innuendo about MGM being interested in unloading the Springfield property," he told WAMC.

Fenton says ever since MGM Springfield was announced, rumors of a possible sale would bubble up — including talk of a potential sale to the operators of Foxwoods Resort Casino or Mohegan Sun - both in Connecticut, with both scenarios never materializing.

Still, the council presidents says if MGM was exploring a change to its arrangements, any alterations would have to keep in line with honoring the deal struck with Springfield taxpayers, and not water down any prior commitments.

"What I've learned is that it's not real until it's real and, if and when, MGM would like to present to the city and our stakeholders a proposal to, in some way, amend the host community agreement, or replace MGM with another operator, we would, as we would all serious proposals from MGM, entertain that proposal and review it in good faith," he said.


Tags: Sin tags

País: United States

Región: North America



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