MGM Resorts International officially entered the race for a Massachusetts casino license on Thursday, signing a deal to acquire 150 acres in the town of Brimfield for a hotel-casino complex.
The location, 65 miles west of Boston, is considered western Massachusetts, where one of three resort-style casino licenses authorized by the state last year would be located.
Other companies expected to bid on the single license 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.
"When we decided to get actively involved in Massachusetts, we scoured the state for a location that would provide the rural setting that New Englanders want," said MGM Resorts Chairman Jim Murren, who grew up in neighboring Connecticut. "The remote nature of this property, along with its proximity to the Massachusetts Turnpike, is exactly what we had in mind."
MGM Resorts signed a contract with Rolling Hills Estates Realty Trust to buy the remote site just north of the Massachusetts Turnpike. The working name for the development is Rolling Hills Resort. It would be developed on a wooded parcel and plans include building a new offramp from the turnpike into the resort.
Murren estimated the development would create 3,000 permanent direct jobs, several thousand indirect jobs, and several thousand construction-related jobs.
Local voter approval for the project is required under the Massachusetts law. Lawmakers and the governor approved three casino licenses; one each in Boston, western Massachusetts and southeastern Massachusetts. The governor, attorney general and treasurer will appoint a five-person gaming commission to oversee licensing.
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