Opportunity for all. That could be the slogan the MGM Springfield is pushing for with the development of its $800 million casino project in Massachusetts.
The casino operator has scheduled by-appointment-only interviews at its Springfield office on Thursday and Friday with construction companies that are either minority-owned or women-owned.
Last month, the casino operator also met with representatives of veteran-owned businesses.
Local news outlet WWLP reported that MGM will be prioritizing businesses in Springfield, and in the areas of Holyoke, West Springfield, Agawam, Chicopee, Ludlow, Longmeadow, East Longmeadow and Wilbraham.
The prospective contractors must also be 51 percent or greater minority-owned or women-owned, and must have certifications from local agencies such as the Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office, according to the casino operator.
MGM struck a deal with the City of Springfield for the casino project. According to MassLive, the company agreed to create a minimum of 2,000 construction jobs consisting of workers from minorities (15.3 percent), women (6.9 percent), and veterans (8 percent).
The casino operator also pledged to hire at least 3,000 workers—2,200 of which will have full-time positions—once the casino opens its doors. In addition, MGM promised to “use its best efforts” to make sure that at least 35 percent of its workforce are Springfield residents.
MGM Resorts’ casino development in Springfield was originally scheduled to open in the fall of 2017, but the casino operator sought to delay its opening date by a year due to the Interstate 91 viaduct’s rehabilitation.
Kentucky lawmaker wants expanded gambling legislation
Meanwhile, Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo is proposing a constitutional amendment that will pave the way for as many as seven casinos to open in the state.
Local news outlet WKMS.org reported that under the expanded gaming proposal, the casinos—operated by private companies and overseen by the Kentucky Lottery—will be located in the state’s six congressional districts, with one “at large” casino.
Here’s the problem: many areas in the state will not qualify for casino locations because they don’t meet the 55,000-resident qualification. According to Bowling Green Daily News, only 16 of the 120 counties in Kentucky have a population of 55,000 or more.
Stumbo, however, will not be deterred. The lawmaker released a statement, saying, “The time has come for voters to decide the expanded gaming issue once and for all.”
Under Stumbo’s proposal, the revenue from the casinos will go to public elementary and secondary education, higher education, pension systems, and the racing industry.