SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Before it can be considered for a gaming license, a casino developer must have signed agreements with neighboring cities and towns.
The 22News I-Team discovered how MGM's surrounding community agreements could actually cost Springfield money.
It's in their host agreement, "Exhibit D".
If MGM pays more than $500,000 annually to surrounding communities, Springfield and MGM will split the rest of the payment: 50/50. MGM will pay for it, but it is money that instead of going to Springfield will go elsewhere.
The mayor's and town leaders the 22News I-Team spoke with do agree MGM's annual payment to surrounding communities will likely be more than $500,000.
"$500,000 a year wouldn't mitigate the problems that are going to develop in Chicopee let alone the other communities that surround Springfield," said Chicopee mayor Michael Bissonnette.
Springfield City Solicitor Ed Pikula told the 22News I-Team that based on MGM's revenue estimates, Springfield can't lose out on more than $1.3 Million a year.
Pikula says they would like to avoid that and won't stand in the way of any negotiations. "We see this project as a benefit for Western Mass. and we want the gaming commission to see that," said Pikula.
West Springfield city councilor Brian Griffin says the agreement itself taints negotiations. "Every time you negotiate it works against the interest of surrounding communities, negating responsible negotiations," said Griffin.
MGM's Mike Mathis told 22News they have had conversations with eight communities and are waiting to complete some impact studies before entering into serious negotiations.
(Do you feel that this negotiation is feasible to be completed in this next two, two and a half months here?)
"To be candid with you I'm not sure that all of them can be done, it depends on the willingness of the surrounding communities to have that negotiation and what the results of our studies are," said Mathis.
Surrounding Community Agreements are supposed to be handed in by the end of the year with the rest of a casino developers phase 2 application, but the Gaming Commission has already discussed pushing the deadline back if developers and communities are having a tough time working out a deal.