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MGM Springfield celebrates one year of business



Aerosmith, New England Patriots cheerleaders and a five-step birthday cake: Massachusetts' first Las Vegas-style casino throws an indulgent birthday soup on Saturday. But one year after opening in western Massachusetts, MGM Springfield has underperformed its high-income laws and already throwing hundreds of jobs. And for some, the promised revival in the center has been overwhelming. With a new rival of the $ 2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor casino and potentially more competition in Connecticut, the $ 960 million entertainment complex can revive a demanding region of its own Casino President Michael Mathis promises to play, the hotel and entertainment complex is restoring its second act, though he and the city leaders say the resort's success in spurring new financial investment, attracting millions of new visitors to downtown and employing thousands of city residents "We're just on the rise. , "he told The Associated Press ahead of Saturday's festivities. "The dominoes are falling, but not as fast as we wanted." Mathis admits that casino executives underestimated the challenge of drawing loyal customers away from regional powerhouses Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. The Indian tribal-owned Connecticut resorts saw gaming revenue decline this year, but not as bad as anyone feared with MGM's entry. Going forward, MGM plans to double down on high quality, non-playing entertainment, like Aerosmith's slate of four concerts this week, Sa Mathis said. The casino is also reviewing its offer on slot machines, introducing new high rollers facilities and continuing to push for legalized sports betting in Massachusetts, he said. "This is a competitive market, and every place has to find its niche," Mathis said. "Great entertainment and a unique trait, I think, will be ours." The adjustments will reap marginal benefits, but they probably won't be game changers, suggests Colin Mansfield, a casino expert at rating agency Fitch. "Many of their regional competitors are focused on the same initiatives," he said. "From a convenience perspective, the tribal casinos have a lot more destination-style deals that MGM Springfield lacks." But unlike the troubled new casinos in upstate New York ̵

1; which faced bankruptcy or change of ownership just one year after opening – MGM Springfield will eventually find its footing, predicts Paul DeBole, a gaming expert at Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts. "MGM knows how to operate a profitable casino," he said. "Even in a saturated market." Through July, MGM Springfield generated over $ 250 million in gaming revenue despite initially earning more than $ 400 million in year one – and much more in subsequent years. The casino also opened with 3,000 workers, but is down to about 2,300 as the company reduces the global workforce .athis said he does not expect additional local jobs. He is quick to note that more than 40% of employed people are Springfield residents – which exceed their original goals – and that the casino brought in about six million visitors in the first year. So far, some downtown store owners aren't complaining about the promised Main Street spill. t materialized. Some storefronts near the casino remain vacant, and a few new stores have already opened and shuttered. The resort's unconventional design – a low-slung brick facade that blends with the historic street scene and a generous patio – was intended to encourage casino patrons to explore downtown and revitalize Main Street. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno says there are other signs that the economic upturn is underway. Measured tax revenue is up 16% from the same period last year, and hotel tax revenue is up 55%, he said. Doctor Mark Wahlberg and his family plan to open a Wahlburgers eatery next to the casino, while a developer is restoring a historic downtown theater and pairing it with a new boutique hotel. MGM is also working with the city to transform another central property into dozens of units with Market-rate housing – a critical requirement for agreements with the city and the state. Crime, meanwhile, is down 9% from the same point last year, according to Sarno. "This has been a big shot in the arm," he said. "The spin-off effects happen. It gives a boost to speed. People feel safe in the city."

Aerosmith, New England Patriots cheerleaders and a five-tier birthday cake: Massachusetts' first Las Vegas-style casino throws itself an indulgent birthday bash Saturday.

But one year after it opened in western Massachusetts, MGM Springfield has underperformed its high revenue promises and already thrown hundreds of jobs. And for some, the promised revival in the center has been overwhelming.

With a new rival of the $ 2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor casino and potentially more competition in Connecticut, the $ 960 million entertainment complex may resurrect a battle in the struggling region. around their own fortunes?

Casino President Michael Mathis promises that the gaming, hotel and entertainment complex restores his second act, even as he and city leaders announce the resort's success in spurring new financial investment, drawing millions of new visitors to the city center and employing thousands of city residents .

"We're just moving up. There's a lot of upside," he told the Associated Press ahead of Saturday's festivities. "The dominoes are falling, but not as fast as we wanted."

Mathis admits that casino executives underestimated the challenge of drawing loyal customers away from Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun regional power plants. The Indian tribal-owned Connecticut resorts saw gaming revenue decline this year, but not as bad as anyone feared with MGM's entry.

Going forward, MGM plans to double down high-quality, non-gaming entertainment, like Aerosmith's slate at four concerts this week, Mathis said. The casino is also reviewing its offer on slot machines, introducing new facilities for high rollers and continuing to push for legalized sports betting in Massachusetts, he said.

"This is a competitive market and every place has to find its niche," Mathis said. "Great entertainment and a unique property, I think, will be ours."

The adjustments will reap marginal benefits, but they probably won't be game changers, suggests Colin Mansfield, a casino expert at the Fitch rating agency.

"Many of the regional competitors are focused on the same initiatives," he said. "From a convenience perspective, the tribal casinos have a lot more destination-style deals that MGM Springfield lacks."

But unlike the troubled New York state casinos – which have faced bankruptcy or change of ownership just one year after opening – MGM Springfield will eventually find its footing, predicts Paul DeBole, a gaming expert at Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts. .

"MGM knows how to operate a profitable casino," he said. "Even in a saturated market."

Through July, MGM Springfield has generated just over $ 250 million in gaming revenue despite first earning more than $ 400 million in year one – and much more in subsequent years. The casino also opened with 3,000 workers, but is down to about 2,300 as the company reduces the global workforce.

Mathis said he does not expect further local positions. He is quick to note that more than 40% of employed people are residents of Springfield – which exceed their original goals – and that the casino brought in about six million visitors in the first year.

Still, some downtown store owners complain the promised spill to Main Street has not been realized. Some storefronts near the casino remain vacant, and a few new stores have already opened and shuttered.

The resort's unconventional design – a low-impact facade that blends with the historic street scene and a generous patio – was intended to encourage casino patrons to explore downtown and revitalize Main Street.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno says there are other signs that the economic boom is underway. Meal revenues are up 16% from the same period last year, and hotel tax revenue is up 55%, he said.

Actor Mark Wahlberg and his family are planning to open a Wahlburger's eatery next to the casino, while a developer is restoring a historic downtown theater and pairing it with a new boutique hotel.

MGM is also working with the city to turn another key downtown property into dozens of units with market-rate housing – a critical requirement for city and state agreements.

Crime in the downtown area is down 9% from the same point last year, according to Sarno.

"This has been a big shot in the arm," he said. "The spin-off effects happen. It gives a boost to speed. People feel safe in the city."


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