Opening day for MGM Springfield is set for August 24 and local hotels and venues are already booked.
One convention group alone that is headed to Springfield during the casino's opening weekend is expected to bring in close to a thousand visitors, and a big boost to the local economy.
Joe Leahy of Leahy and Brown Insurance and Realty in Springfield said the national association he will soon chair, the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America needed a place for their annual, national convention in August which was the same week MGM Springfield is scheduled to open.
"People from western Massachusetts should appreciate this. We were up against cities like Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio, and Kansas City," said Leahy.
He said they needed a massive convention space, enter the Mass Mutual Center, and hundreds of hotel rooms at the Sheraton Springfield, but it was MGM that clinched the deal.
"No question, it was the fact that MGM was willing to spend almost a billion dollars here," Leahy continued.
Mary Kay Wydra, President of the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau told Western Mass News that large groups look for easy accessibility to nearby airports, transportation, affordability, like hotel rates, and local attractions.
"That's where MGM comes in. Not only are they adding a casino into our mix but more retail, more restaurants, more for attendees to take advantage of in our area," said Wydra.
Leahy said with 600 insurance agents descending on Springfield, the entire region will benefit.
"Some are bringing families because its August and they're going to go to places like Six Flags, so its not just going to benefit Springfield it's going to benefit all of western Massachusetts," Leahy added.
With just that one insurance group coming to town, Leahy said the projected benefit for the local economy over their five day convention is at least a million dollars.
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