SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Springfield is taking baby steps toward making a casino decision.
Not a big surprise. Mayor Domenic Sarno decided against eliminating a casino developer in the cities casino selection process... for now.
Springfield will negotiate a host agreement with MGM in the South End and Penn National in the North End.
" We went through every issue from A to Z and while there are pluses and minuses that come with each, they are both very good proposals", says Springfield's Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy.
Kennedy told 22News as of right now there isn't a preference between the two, but it is in the cities best interest to eventually pick one.
"Right now, I'm still of the mindset that one is the way to go, but I'm not the determining factor, that will be up to the Mayor", says Kennedy.
Mayor Sarno wasn't available on Monday since he is dealing with the aftermath of the snowstorm.
Kennedy told 22News there are a lot of promises in both casino proposals, but a strong host agreement will ensure that they will deliver those promises.
"It's our companies reputation and our track record that what we proposed and what we commitment to we will follow through on and that's absolutely our intent", says Mike Mathis, MGM Vice President of Global Gaming Development.
Penn National Gaming Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Eric Schippers says, "We are the only casino company in America that can say we opened three casinos, brand new casinos in communities very similar to Springfield in the last year alone, so nobody builds in regional markets like we do and we're very confident we can deliver on our promises."
Another thing the city is waiting on is to see if the Massachusetts Gaming Commission finds both MGM and Penn National with Peter Picknelly suitable. That decision may not come until June. A city wide vote won't take place until that decision is final.
"We aren't going to go ahead with a vote, until they complete their RFA-1 process. It also wouldn't be wise on our part to decide on only one until we knew the results of that", says Kennedy.
Springfield is still hopeful to hold a city-wide referendum on June 25th, the day of the special Senate election, but the developer will have to agree on that date.