SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - After reviewing the casino proposals from MGM Springfield and Penn National Gaming, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno has decided to ask for more time to decide to negotiate a host community agreement with one or both developers. Friday's deadline has been moved back to February 11th.
If Springfield eventually signs a host community agreement with MGM, Penn National Gaming or both, the gaming companies will ask for a referendum and it must be held within 60 days of their request. Springfield has been hoping to hold a referendum in June, but it could come as late as December.
If Penn National or MGM do not sign a host community agreement with Springfield, they can still relocate to another location outside of the city prior to October.
A gaming license is expected to be awarded in Western Massachusetts in February 2014.
Mohegan Sun is applying in Palmer. Hard Rock is applying in West Springfield. Rush Street Gaming and Power Plant Entertainment have applied for a license in Massachusetts, but have not disclosed their potential location yet.
Below is the complete news release from the city of Springfield:
Mayor Sarno, upon the recommendation of the Mayor's Casino Advisory Committee, is amending the Phase II- Request for Qualifications/Request for Proposals for a proposed destination casino resort development in order to change the date the City announces the proposer (s) qualifying for the right to negotiate a host community agreement from January 25, 2013 to February 11, 2013.
The extension was recommend by the Ad Hoc Advisory and Internal Review Committee and approved by the Mayor in order to provide additional time for evaluation and coordination of the various aspects of the casino proposals with the City's consultants. The extension in the original schedule, which estimated an announcement for January 25, 2013, reflects the prior extension from December 14, 2012 to January 3, 2013 which was provided to the proposers as additional time for their submissions.
Through this Phase II-Request for Qualifications/Request for Proposals the City expects to select one or more enterprises with which it will negotiate a host community agreement for the development, construction and operation of a destination resort casino project.
A host community agreement is a requirement for an applicant for a category 1 license pursuant to "An Act Establishing Expanded Gaming in the Commonwealth," codified at Chapter 194 of the Acts of 2011. The Act provides for a single category 1 license to be issued in Western Massachusetts, designated in the Act as Region B. Region B encompasses the Massachusetts counties of Hampshire, Hampden, Franklin and Berkshire.
Blue Tarp Redevelopment LLC, an affiliate of MGM Resorts International ("MGM") and Springfield Gaming and Redevelopment, LLC, a joint venture between an affiliate of Penn National Gaming and an affiliate of Mr. Peter Picknelly ("Penn JV"), were pre-qualified in the City's Phase I-RFQ/P and are the only enterprises having the right to participate in this Phase II-RFQ/P.
Each proposal submitted in response to the Phase II-RFQ/P is currently being evaluated by the City and its team of consultants based upon the quality of the proposer's responses to the criteria set forth in the Phase II-RFQ/P as well as any and all relevant information about the proposer known to the City.