The Massachusetts Gaming Commission kicked off its final evaluation and licensing process Tuesday for the sole western Massachusetts resort casino license.
Three of the five commissioners presented on various aspects of the casino plan and will continue throughout the week.
Building and site design, finances and mitigation were analyzed and presented Tuesday by Massachusetts Gaming Commissioners James McHugh, Enrique Zuniga and Gayle Cameron.
"They view our project very favorably and it makes us that much more comfortable that come Friday we're optimistic we'll get the selection," MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis said.
The commissioners gave MGM a "Very Good" overall rating.
"There's been significant competition in this city, more than any other city in the commonwealth. And we have fought very hard to be where we are at today," Mathis said.
Mathis says it's been a two and a half year journey that he hopes to celebrate once deliberations close at the end of the week, with or without a Supreme Judicial Court decision.
"We're hoping to celebrate an important milestone come Friday. And certainly it would be great to have the repeal issue behind us. But this is an important milestone and one that we haven't taken for granted and we'll celebrate it," Mathis said.
Presentations continue on Wednesday morning. Deliberations will begin in the afternoon. A decision is expected to come out of Friday's meeting in Springfield.
"We are committed to a participatory, transparent and fair process," Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby said. "And I for one hope very much that by the end of this week that the participants in the bidding process, the communities involved and the people of MA will believe we have met that standard."
If MGM Springfield is granted a license, Mathis says they hope to break ground in July.
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