SPRINGFIELD — After a long and arduous competition, Mayor Domenic Sarno chose an $800 million casino plan from MGM Resorts International Tuesday as the city’s candidate for the Western Massachusetts casino license, eliminating a rival proposal from Penn National Gaming.
The mayor’s decision ended months of public lobbying and intense advertising by the gambling giants and came after a long period of parallel negotiations with the two companies.
“We had a unique opportunity to apply leverage and pressure to strike the best deal for Springfield,” Sarno said, speaking to reporters at City Hall.
As part of the deal, the company’s annual payments to the financially struggling city, including taxes and other payments, are expected to top $25 million, if the project is built.
The MGM project, if endorsed by voters in a referendum, will compete with proposals by Mohegan Sun in Palmer and Hard Rock International, for West Springfield. The state gambling commission has the final say over which company will get the state license; that decision is expected by February.
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