SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A change of leadership announced at MGM Springfield today but are city leaders concerned that it may be linked to last months’ lowest revenue numbers?

While Mike Mathis has virtually been the face of MGM Springfield from its blueprint phase, to its grand opening, many have said this change is an exciting next chapter.

But also a time to reflect on how much it has already benefited the community.

You’ve seen Mike Mathis, the now-former MGM Springfield president, often...promoting the casino’s events, but he’s now moving on to a new role with MGM Resorts in Las Vegas, now being replaced by Chris Kelley as the casino’s new chief operating officer.

It was a move that caught the attention of City Councilor, and a member of the Casino Oversight Committee, Mike Fenton.

"My first question was is there anything wrong, is there anything to be concerned about with the Springfield project, and the answer to both questions was no," Fenton said.

The move comes as the casino has seen its lowest revenue numbers since its August 2018 opening, with just under $19 million generated.

The numbers that we see every month is reported on a lot, the MGC pays attention to it to a certain extent, but they aren’t as relevant to me from a city and economic development perspective. I’m much more interested in whether or not they’re meeting their hiring quotas which they have and assisting in spin-off economic development," Fenton explained.

A spin-off, that Fenton told Western Mass News, is something residents see every day in the community.

"When they vote for the casino referendum, they wanted to see the south end...not just the casino, but outside the casino, revitalized. And that does not happen overnight but I continue to be very encouraged by the progress there," Fenton noted.

Fenton said Springfield will continue to receive its guaranteed $17.5 million, as well as big-name shows coming to town.

Something Mayor Sarno said will only help. He told us in a statement:

“These numbers are only reporting gambling revenue and are not indications of money MGM is less likely to make public, like hotel room revenue and money earned in restaurants and retail. I strongly believe that as MGM continues to hold non-gaming events, which complement their gambling aspects, we will continue to see a strong business model.”

In that statement Mayor Sarno went on to say he enjoyed working with Mathis; both Fenton and Sarno said they look forward to working with his replacement.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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