The last time MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming shared the news, they were on opposite sides of what became the most expensive ballot campaign in Maryland’s history, racking up over $90 million in campaign donations on the ballot question in Maryland last month to expand casino gambling in the state. Eventually, MGM won that round by a slim 52-48 margin. It was far from convincing, but it was a win for the Lion head nevertheless.
So it seems fitting that the two casino companies are back at it again. Except this time, they’ve left Maryland and have headed north to Western Massachusetts with new plans and new expectations. Yet the tenor remains the same. Penn National versus MGM Resorts International.
Ring the bell. It’s Round 2.
Both companies are vying for the lone casino license in Western Massachusetts and are taking their proposals to Springfield to lay out their respective visions on what their respective casinos. It should have been a four-way slugfest but Ameristar Casinos dropped their own casino plans and Hard Rock International didn’t meet the city’s application deadline.
So it’s down to Penn National and MGM Resorts. Again.
Representatives from both companies are expected to make 45-minute presentations in front of voters who will eventually decide if either company should receive the proverbial green light to build a gambling resort in the city. The presentations will then be followed by questions from the public, which we expect to be as heated as their budding rivalry has become.
Both MGM Resorts International and Penn National are proposing extravagant resort casinos on a pair of downtown sites in Springfield. The former has an $800 million gambling and entertainment complex on the table and is planning to build it on the city’s South End. Meanwhile, Penn National is offering up their own $807 million resort destination on the other end of town at the North End.
It’s become no secret that there’s a certain level of animosity between these two companies, especially after what transpired in Maryland. Massachusetts officials directed both companies to be on their best behavior this time around, but with their history being so recent, don’t be surprised if there’s still some animosity there.
Whatever the case may be, what we know is that MGM Resorts and Penn National are on opposite sides of the fence again. Or in this case, opposite ends of town.
Let the battle begin.