SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Concerns over MGM Springfield’s adherence to its community-host agreement with the City of Springfield reached the very top of the food chain at MGM Resorts International.

“Our evaluation of this market simply was off. Full stop.”

MGM Resorts International CEO and President William Hornbuckle

Hornbuckle shared the outcome of a self-described productive and constructive meeting with Springfield leadership, “I took a bet and it was a big one and frankly to date it hasn’t gotten to where we would like it to be, but we have not stopped and will not stop trying to make this the absolute best that it can be for this community.”

Among the top concerns, jobs. MGM Springfield employs about 1,400 people today, less than half of their grand-opening goal. COVID-19 and a stagnant labor market has forced the company to adapt those goals.

“Its an interesting statistic for here in Massachusetts. We have two open jobs for every unemployed person. It speaks to the challenge,” said MGM Springfield President Chris Kelley.

“The milestone ought to be 2,000 employees, not 3,000. Let’s come to an understanding here. If it is three, something dynamic has to change in this marketplace,” MGM Resorts International President and CEO William Hornbuckle said.

These evolving goals are not just for MGM’s employment numbers. They also have changing plans for a few businesses in the plaza and those darkened storefronts on Main Street. Both the Kringle Emporium and the Indian Motorcycle Retail store, nods from MGM developers to the history of Springfield, will reopen as-is in the short-term. Inside the casino, more regular and expanded hours for restaurants and attractions.

At the very top of their list of improvements, the anticipated launch of the state’s first in-person sports book. Leadership said Friday they plan to open starting next week with in-person bets officially going live on January 31st.

You can read the full statement from Bill Hornbuckle below:

Our focus has always centered on building a world-class casino and resort that improves the community and helps revive and enhance the economic center of Western Massachusetts, and we’ve worked tirelessly to do just that. Since opening in 2018, MGM Springfield has contributed more than $347 million in taxes, including $233 million to the state, $107 million to the City of Springfield and more than $7 million to the surrounding communities. MGM Springfield has also contributed tens of millions more through downtown development projects, including $16 million to redevelop the project at 31 Elm Street. MGM Springfield annually spends $5 million on regional goods and services, to date has given more than $600,000 in aid to local charitable organizations and our team members have contributed more than 1700 volunteer hours to the community.

MGM Springfield has also focused on providing family-sustaining jobs and comprehensive benefits that provide further growth and opportunities for members of the community. With an average annual wage more than double the City of Springfield’s average, team members also enjoy substantial employee benefits that include 401k, free meals, tuition reimbursement and more. Collectively, MGM Springfield employees have earned more than $164 million since its opening.

These successes have been achieved despite a financial impact of hundreds of millions of dollars as the result of the global pandemic, during the critical beginning years of our operations and despite the nearly 300 open jobs that MGM Springfield aggressively continues to work to fill.

I am proud of Springfield’s downtown revitalization to date, with the increased foot traffic and visitation benefiting all businesses in the surrounding area. Entertainment is booming with acts traveling from around the world to perform at MassMutual Center, Symphony Hall, ROAR Comedy Club and MGM Springfield. And we can’t forget The Springfield Thunderbirds, who are now selling out MassMutual Center after an incredible 2022 conference title win.

MGM Springfield, meanwhile, will continue to expand operating hours for dining areas, amenities and retail spaces. This will also allow additional hiring to support these changes.

MGM Springfield specifically is committed to the following:

In the First Quarter of 2023:
• Open the world-class BetMGM sportsbook at MGM Springfield on January 31;
• Add Sunday operations to Costa, which currently is open Friday and Saturday;
• Add lunch operations to TAP Sports Bar on Thursday and Friday, which currently is open for dinner seven days a week;
• Expand Roasted Bean’s hours to 10 p.m. seven days a week;
• Eliminate the need for reservations at Top Golf Fridays to Sundays;
• Open TAP Bowling seven days a week, which currently is open Friday to Sunday only; and
• Open Indian Motorcycle retail Fridays to Sundays.

In the Second Quarter of 2023:
• Open Chandler Steakhouse on Thursdays, as well as Friday to Sunday;
• Open Hotel Lobby Bar from Friday to Sunday; and
• Finalize a path to reopen Kringle Candle.

In the Third Quarter of 2023:
• MGM Springfield will reopen The Salon on Main Street; and
• Formally reevaluate ongoing operations to adjust the operations of its amenities as necessary.