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Julie Moraine February 11, 2020 3 min read
MGM Springfield Casino Relies On Sports Betting Legalization
MGM Springfield casino, the $95 million resort-type casino in Springfield’s South End, Massachusetts, enters its third year of operation, clutching on the hope sports betting legislation would pass through state legislature and be approved by State Gov. Charlie Baker to get back to growth.
Following months of lackluster revenue numbers reported to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, with two consecutive months of lowest revenue figures of $19.9 million in November and $18.9 million in December, and ever since President Michael Mathis was replaced by Chris Kelley, expectations for the casino for change of direction are running high.
Sports betting is one of the revenue stream the old president considered to have potential, as it would take weeks, not months or years, for MGM Springfield casino to come up with a sports betting live operation and start using it to draw extra visitors and compete with neighboring states like New Hampshire, Rhode Island and New York, where sports betting is already legal, instead of letting Rivers Casino in Schenectady, New York, steal customers by advertising its sports book with a huge billboard on Interstate 90.
The start of 2020 is not promising, though, with reported gross gambling revenue falling and an employment number of 2,500, another issue for the casino as it is 500 lower than what was promised to the state and city in terms of hiring when the casino resort campaigned for a gaming license.
But gaming revenue remains the biggest concern for the company as it keeps lagging from initial projections while competing casinos generate growth, such as Encore Boston Harbor in Everett that reported gross gambling revenue in December 2019 of $13.5 million, marking the casino’s best month since its opening in June, and raising further questions for MGM.
New Attractions And Events
Another idea of the former president of MGM Springfield casino, Mathis, was to attract a restaurant from a famous chain of restaurants, Wahlburgers, owned by the Wahlberg brothers, lead chef Paul Wahlberg and actors Mark Wahlberg and Donnie Wahlberg, with the restaurant supposed to open doors at the corner of Main and Union streets.
Changing marketing strategy also includes relying more on events and entertainment to draw crowds, even expand on booking fight events, after the first-ever professional boxing event the casino hosted in May 2019 attracted thousands.
Tribal Winds in East Windsor, Connecticut, is the casino that is currently not competing with MGM as development there appears to be stalled and the proposed lot by The Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots still seems vacant, though the spokesman employed by the tribes claims that they are making their best to dismiss MGM’s litigation.
On a Positive Note
MGM Springfield seems to have a positive impact on the region’s tourist economy, creating a whole new category of spending related to casino, attractions and cultural expenses, with Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno claiming MGM’s presence is generating increased foot traffic for downtown restaurants, and some of them, Red Rose Pizzeria, Nadim’s Downtown and even Theodore’s Blues, Booze, and BBQ expanding ever since.