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Two casino firms meet deadlines for Mass. filings

Published January 04. 2013 4:00AM

Boston - Two companies competing to develop a resort-style casino in Springfield turned in detailed plans to the city on Thursday and also submitted initial applications to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

The filings by MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming satisfy two key deadlines as they vie with Mohegan Sun for the sole casino license allocated to western Massachusetts.

Las Vegas-based MGM delivered 18 copies of a 700-page response to Springfield's request for extensive information about its casino plan. The company, which has proposed a more than $800 million gambling, hotel and entertainment complex in a 10-block downtown area, promised to create more than 3,000 permanent jobs and 2,000 construction jobs.

"We look forward to an ongoing dialogue with city officials and the community about the large number of jobs our project will bring to the city as well as the additional economic benefits that are tied to our unique proposal," said Michael Mathis, MGM's vice president of global gaming development, in a statement.

Penn National Gaming also submitted the required 18 copies of its plan to the procurement office at City Hall on Thursday, the Republican newspaper of Springfield reported.

The Wyomissing, Pa.-based company has proposed an $807 million resort casino on a 13.4 acre site in the city's South End, in partnership with Peter Picknelly, chairman of Peter Pan Bus Lines.

The city had set a Thursday deadline for the detailed submissions as part of its ongoing casino review process. Mayor Domenic Sarno is expected to decide in the coming months whether to negotiate host community agreements with one or both of the developers. Any such agreement would also have to be approved by voters.

The state gaming commission will have the final say on the awarding of the only western Massachusetts license allowed under the year-old gambling law.

Penn National and MGM also submitted their initial applications with the panel on Thursday, ahead of a Jan.15 deadline, according to Gayle Cameron, one of five commissioners. Both companies had previously submitted a $400,000 application fee also due by Jan. 15. Mohegan Sun has proposed a casino in the town of Palmer and promised to meet the application deadline.

The Plainridge harness racing track in Plainville, which hopes to win a license to open a slots parlor, has also submitted its initial application and fee.

The panel is expecting other would-be developers to meet the Jan. 15 deadline.

The commission hopes to award the slots-only license by late 2013, and the resort casino licenses by the first quarter of 2014.

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