MGM Resorts still looking for Massachusetts casino site


MGM Resorts International has abandoned a proposed casino site in Massachusetts, but plans to seek alternative location in the western part of the state.

In a statement, the casino operator said there were "too many complications" in pursing a hotel-casino development on a 150-acre site near the town of Brimfield, which is about 65 miles west of Boston. MGM Resorts announced plans to pursue the project in January.

While the land is adjacent to the Massachusetts Turnpike, it does not have any direct access from the highway, which posed a major obstacle to construction. MGM Resorts had said it would seek to build a new highway off-ramp leading to the casino development.

"The unique nature of MGM's plans for an all-inclusive world-class resort on the Brimfield site, and our growing understanding of the needed scope for its infrastructure, simply do not allow us to pursue the comprehensive MGM resort originally envisioned here," MGM Resorts Chief Marketing Officer Bill Hornbuckle said in a statement.

The company had signed a contract with Rolling Hills Estates Realty Trust to buy the remote site. The working name for the development was Rolling Hills Resort.

MGM Resorts had not announced the scope of the project, only that it would create an estimated 3,000 permanent direct jobs, several thousand indirect jobs, and several thousand construction-related jobs.

Western Massachusetts is where one of three resort-style casino licenses authorized last by that state will be located.

"MGM remains committed to developing (a) project in Western Massachusetts and we are actively pursuing other potential development sites," Hornbuckle said.

Other companies expected to bid on the single license in Western Massachusetts include Las Vegas-based regional gaming operator Ameristar Casinos and Penn National Gaming, which owns 25 racetrack casinos, regional casinos in 18 jurisdictions, and M Resort.

Lawmakers and the governor approved three casino licenses; one each in Boston, western Massachusetts and southeastern Massachusetts. Caesars Entertainment Corp. and Wynn Resorts Ltd. are bidding for the Boston casino while a Massachusetts Indian tribe is expected to be awarded the southeastern casino license.

Local voter approval for the projects are required under the Massachusetts law. The governor, attorney general and treasurer has appointed a five-person gaming commission to oversee licensing.

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