MGM, Ameristar, Hard Rock among firms planning Mass. casino-resorts
By Danny King
MGM Resorts International and Ameristar
Casinos are acquiring property in Massachusetts in the wake of a recent decision
by the state to award three gaming licenses
throughout the commonwealth, and at least
five other casino operators are believed to
be proposing development projects.
MGM Resorts in January reached an
agreement to acquire 150 acres just north
of the Massachusetts Turnpike in Brimfield,
about 65 miles west of Boston, for what the
Las Vegas-based company has dubbed Rolling Hills Resort.
Ameristar late last month completed its
$16 million purchase of a 41-acre property in Springfield, about 90 miles west of
Boston, that was once the site of a Westinghouse factory but is now vacant.
Meanwhile, Hard Rock said in November
that it was working on plans with a local
developer for a resort-casino in Holyoke,
about 10 miles north of Springfield.
In addition, Caesars Entertainment, Wynn
Resorts and the Mohegan Tribe, which operates the 1,200-room Mohegan Sun and Spa
hotel-casino resort in Connecticut, are also
said to be proposing casino projects.
Representatives for Ameristar and Hard
Rock declined to comment, while MGM
Resorts didn’t respond to a request for
Hard Rock International: Holyoke
MGM Resorts International: Brimfield
Ameristar Casinos: Springfield
Foxwoods: Mashantucket, Conn.
Mohegan Sun: Uncasville, Conn.
The flurry of interest follows the state’s
decision in late November to allow three
gaming licenses for casino resorts — one
each in western Massachusetts, southeastern Massachusetts and the Boston area —
and one license for a slots-only facility.
Each resort developer will have to pay an
$85 million license fee, invest at least $500
million and fork over 25% of gross gaming
revenue to the commonwealth.
In December, Massachusetts appointed
Stephen Crosby, who has served in various
roles under Massachusetts governors since
2000 and has run a number of publishing
companies, as chair of the Massachusetts
Gaming Commission and set a late-March
deadline for appointing the rest of the com-
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