Springfield enters phase 2 of casino selection process - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Springfield enters phase 2 of casino selection process

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Thursday Springfield entered the final phase of its casino selection process and officials announced a six-person ad hock advisory committee to assist with the screening process.

"They will give me an interesting perspective working with my internal team of what they feel are strong points in the proposals," said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

The newly appointed committee will work to assist Sarno to provide non-binding advice and input about the casino proposals the city is considering.

"This is a huge opportunity for the city of Springfield," said Sarno.

As Springfield enters phase two of their selection process, three casino operators, Ameristar, Penn National Gaming and MGM are all in the running.

"I'm hoping that as we go through this process one or two or maybe all three will make it through this competition," said Springfield Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy. "But, again with any kind of competition usually somebody rises above the rest."

During this phase of the process the operators will have to put forth more in-depth information about their proposals and the city expects to select one or more of the casino operators with which it will negotiate a host community agreement for the development and construction of a resort casino.

"This group of people today will flush out all the details and provide the mayor with their insight," said Kennedy. "And, the mayor still will be the moving party as to the recommendation to the city council. The city council will then vote on that host community agreement and the date of the election will be set."

A question is anticipating to be on a city ballot by June of 2013.

"This is a game changer for the city of Springfield and we want to make sure that we continue to do this the right way," said Sarno.

Casino operators must submit their responses to phase two of the process by December 12.

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