Ameristar will spend $50 million in road improvements to enhace Massachusetts license bid

Ameristar Casinos has stepped up the effort to land a single gaming license in Western Massachusetts.

The Las Vegas-based regional casino operator said it would spend another $50 million in road and bridge improvements to connect its proposed site in Springfield with Interstate 291.

Ameristar has already spent $16 million to acquire the 41-acre site for a proposed $500 million hotel-casino complex.

The company is one of five casino operators seeking the license for Western Massachusetts — Penn National Gaming, the Mohegan Sun Casino, MGM Resorts International and Hard Rock Casinos have announced plans or expressed interest in the gaming potential.

Ameristar said the infrastructure improvement plans would lead to a better chance of an approval in a local referendum.

Ameristar recently announced plans to build a $500 million hotel-casino development in Lake Charles, La.

“While Ameristar is a strong developer and manager of regional gaming assets, we have some concerns about the company’s ability to potentially juggle a project in Lake Charles with a greenfield project in Massachusetts,” Union Gaming Group Principal Bill Lerner cautioned investors.