MGM Resorts Advances in Contest to Build Massachusetts Casino

MGM Resorts International (MGM) cleared a hurdle in efforts to build an $800 million casino in Springfield, Massachusetts, gaining the backing of the mayor over a competing proposal by Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN)

Mayor Domenic Sarno announced his choice of MGM at a press conference today. The Las Vegas-based casino company’s plan must be approved by Springfield voters and a five-member Massachusetts Gaming Commission, that’s weighing competing plans for other cities.

The state legalized gambling in 2011, allowing one casino in each of three geographic regions. Would-be operators must negotiate an agreement with the municipality where their casino would be based and win local voter approval.

MGM will have to compete with two other operators chasing the western Massachusetts license: the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority wants to open a casino in Palmer, and Hard Rock International, owned by Florida’s Seminole Tribe, is seeking approval in West Springfield, a separate city.

MGM, the largest owner of casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, gained 1.6 percent to $13.96 at 12:01 p.m. in New York. The stock had advanced 18 percent this year before today.

Penn, based in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, rose 0.1 percent to $58.44 and had advanced 19 percent this year before today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at cpalmeri1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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