Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno has selected MGM Resorts International as the developer for a proposed casino in the state's third-largest city, rejecting a competing bid by Penn National Gaming.
Sarno announced Tuesday he had negotiated a host community agreement with MGM, which has proposed a more than $800 million resort casino on a 10-acre downtown site damaged by a June 2011 tornado.
MGM has committed to making annual payments of more than $25 million if the casino is built.
The host community agreement must be approved by the city council and Springfield voters. City officials say they are aiming for a July 16 referendum.
The state gambling commission will have the final say on awarding the sole casino license in western Massachusetts.
Sarno says he never seriously considered negotiating agreements with both companies.