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by Matt Alderton | November 07, 2014
Just a few days after Massachusetts voters gave a green light to casino gambling, MGM Resorts International has accepted its casino license from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) and commenced work on a planned casino resort in downtown Springfield, MA, it announced yesterday.

In June, MGC awarded MGM the first of three casino licenses sanctioned by a 2011 law legalizing casino gambling in the Bay State. The license, which was contingent on final resolution of a ballot measure that would have made casino gambling illegal had it passed, goes into effect today.

"This has been one of the most exciting weeks in MGM's history," MGM Chairman and CEO James J. Murren said in a statement. "We are grateful to the voters of the Commonwealth, and especially the people of Springfield for voting for jobs and economic opportunities. Today we want to thank the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for formalizing our agreement that will allow us to revitalize a great downtown."

MGM, which will pay an $85 million licensing fee to MGC, began working on its Springfield casino yesterday, when it commenced geotechnical soil assessments at the site of a planned 3,500-space parking garage that will serve the property. Construction is planned to begin in spring 2015.

"It is extremely gratifying to have equipment on site, not only because it signals the start of the work, but because the people of Springfield no longer have to imagine. Their future is now," said MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis.

Upon completion, MGM Springfield will have a 25-story, 250-room hotel with a spa, pool, and roof deck; 125,000 square feet of gaming space with 3,000 slot machines, 75 gaming tables, a poker room, and a high-limit VIP gambling area; about 55,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space that will accommodate 15 shops and restaurants; and a multi-level parking garage.

Concluded Mathis, "We have worked hard to develop a master plan to construct a world-class urban casino resort proposal that will anchor a renaissance for an important gateway city and the region around it. We now look forward to that becoming a reality."