MGM’s first resort in New England opened Friday with a parade down Main Street in Springfield.
MGM Springfield is a $900 million development that includes a hotel, casino floor, and numerous restaurants and entertainment options.
Michael Mathis, the President of MGM Springfield, said the hope is to lure more than just gamblers to the sprawling and sparkling new entertainment venue.
“We think we can grow the market and we think we can get people to come to these facilities and enjoy things like bowling and movie theaters and outdoor entertainment and if they happen to spend money on gambling that’s part of the experience but not the entire experience,” Mathis said.
The new venue presents the biggest threat ever seen to Connecticut’s two tribally run casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.
The two facilities, run by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes, respectively, have been one of the major entertainment draws in the region, bringing in visitors from the New York and Boston metropolitan areas.
The opening of MGM Springfield could further erode slot machines revenues that the two Connecticut casinos provide to the state budget.
Christine Carrieri made the short drive from Enfield and said she expects to be a regular at the Springfield venue.
“I’m only what 8 miles away? This looks fabulous. I haven’t been through the whole thing but I’m liking it.”
Springfield not only has the benefit of proximity to the Greater Hartford area, but the luxury of new public transit options connecting prospective guests from central Connecticut to MGM Springfield.
The new Hartford Line from CTRail provides daily service from New Haven and Hartford, bringing customers to within a stone’s throw of MGM Springfield.
That’s something Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno says is a selling point.
“I got 10 or 12 trains coming up from Connecticut to Union Station.”
Connecticut’s two tribes are also planning to open a new casino in East Windsor, just miles from Springfield and along the I-91 corridor. The federal government still must approve the project.
The tribes did not comment on the opening of MGM Springfield.