Western Mass. casino selection process pushed back; Maine’s Oxford Casino waiting final approval for gambling expansion


MassachusettsThe search to find the right casino in Western Massachusetts will be a slow and drawn out process, allowing Springfield officials enough time to choose among several developers looking into building a casino in the city.

The decision was made by the city in large part to give it enough time to make a comprehensive review of all the applicants without having to rush the entire selection process. The fear of conflicts arising between the city and commission on the selection process would only complicate the entire issue altogether. So instead of jumping into the fire, both parties are trying to fix their schedules to ensure a steady, albeit more drawn out, selection process.

‘‘On the big issue of the incompatibility with our schedule, I think they have rethought it and are happy to agree with us to try to match our schedule, which is a really good development,’’ commission Chairman Stephen Crosby said, as quoted by Boston.com, at a panel meeting in Boston earlier this week.

The city expects anywhere between four to six casino proposals led by the MGM Resorts International and Ameristar Casinos, both of whom already have proposals lined up for the city and the commission to look into. With the new timetable in place, the final decision would obviously be drawn out further into the calendar, pushing back the possible referendum for at least a few months past the original mid-2013 timetable. Be that as it may, if it means a more sound and, more importantly, an agreed about decision between the city and the commission, it should be worth the wait.

Meanwhile, The Oxford Casino in Maine is on the verge of receiving final approval from the state’s Gambling Control Board for an expanded gambling area in the casino. While the final decision hasn’t been meted down by the GCB yet, the casino is optimistic that he approval will pass, allowing it to add more table games and slot machines on the casino floor to add to the current gambling options – 529 slot machines and 12 table games – the Oxford Casino already has in its fold.