Mass. Gaming Commission Awards Casino License to MGM Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - MGM Springfield has been named state's first official casino operator, capping a more than two year process that saw at least four rival plans in western Massachusetts fall by the wayside.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted unanimously Friday at the MassMutual Center to approve a deal granting MGM the license, but providing it temporary relief from an $85 million state licensing fee.

Chairman Stephen Crosby says the project captures the "spirit" and "aspirations" that state leaders envisioned when they opened the door for resort-style casino gambling in Massachusetts in 2011.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno says the vote represents a "pivotal" moment in the economically struggling city's history.

MGM Resorts International CEO James Murren says the approval process was one of the most rigorous the Las Vegas-based casino giant has gone through.

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