Ameristar Casinos withdraws from race for Massachusetts gaming license

Ameristar Casinos pulled out of the race for a Massachusetts gaming license Friday, saying it would save its resources for other developments.

The announcement comes after more than a year of planning to apply for the single gaming license being offered in the western part of the state.

Las Vegas-based Ameristar spent $16 million this year to acquire a 40-acre site in Springfield, Mass., where the regional gaming operator unveiled plans for a $910 million hotel-casino.

By announcing its withdrawal from the process, Ameristar avoided paying a $400,000 state gaming license application fee due Dec. 14.

In a statement, Ameristar Chief Executive Officer Gordon Kanofsky said it "was a difficult decision" to withdraw from the bidding process.

"I am extremely proud of the efforts of our team members who aggressively pursued this project," Kanofsky said.

The move leaves MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming as the two remaining casino companies vying for a resort in Springfield.

In a statement, Ameristar believed it had the "superior" proposal, but did not consider the likelihood of it winning the license strong enough to continue the effort.

Ameristar began construction earlier this year on a $500 million hotel-casino project in Lake Charles, La., that is expected to open in 2014.

The company has not decided what to do with the 40-acre Springfield site.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.