• Mass. city has plan for choosing casino developer


    SPRINGFIELD (AP) - The mayor of Springfield released a plan Monday for selecting one of the four competing developers who hope to build a casino in the city.

    Mayor Domenic Sarno met privately earlier in the day with representatives from Ameristar Casinos, Hard Rock International, MGM Resorts and Penn National Gaming.

    He then announced a selection process starting Sept. 5, when the city will begin considering the project developers based on factors such as their finances, experience and project concepts.

    Companies who pass this initial screening will be asked, starting in October, to explain how their projects help Springfield meet various goals, such as bringing in new jobs and revenues and sparking additional development in Springfield.

    Sarno expects to choose which developers the city will negotiate with by mid-December. The city council would have to approve any agreement, and the city plans to host public meetings and presentations to discuss the various plans.

    "I have instructed our city departments and our consultants to conduct an open, fair and robust competitive process that will allow me to choose that project or projects that best meet the city's selection criteria," Sarno said in a press release.

    Sarno said a casino would be the largest economic development project in Springfield's history and that he expects it to bring thousands of good jobs.

    Whichever developer Springfield picks would still have to win support from the five-member Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which ultimately selects the winning bidder for the sole western Massachusetts casino license.

    The state's new gambling law allows for up to three regional casinos in Massachusetts.

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