The national gambling landscape changes this week as MGM Resorts International’s long-awaited MGM Springfield opens for business this Friday, Aug. 24.
The nearly $1 billion casino/resort will be Massachusetts’ first full-fledged casino in the style popularized on the Las Vegas Strip. MGM Springfield, opening 10 months in advance of Wynn’s Encore Boston Harbor project, is projected to heavily compete with the two Native American-owned and operated casino/resorts, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, in nearby Connecticut.
The venue is on Main Street in the downtown portion of the historic Western Massachusetts city, about 92 miles from Boston. It spans three city blocks and incorporates a five-story hotel with 125,000 square feet of gaming space, shops and numerous restaurants. The entire project occupies a whopping two million square feet.
The expansive casino is home to roughly 2,550 slot machines and 120 gaming tables, along with a live poker room and a VIP gaming area, according to MGM officials.
Other amenities include an eight-screen movie theater complex, an 8,000-square-foot pool, a spa, bowling alley and a Topgolf Swing Suite, a virtual golf simulator, where “visitors can play in groups or practice solo while enjoying gourmet bites and inventive cocktails,” MGM says. Each simulator can fit up to eight players representing all skill sets.
The nearby, 8,000-seat MassMutual Center, “will host major conventions and events,” including a concert Sept. 1 by Motown legend Stevie Wonder.
Michael Mina’s gourmet Italian outpost, dubbed Cal Mare, and The Chandler Steak House, under the aegis of executive Chef Meghan Gill (winner of “Hell’s Kitchen,” season 14), represent the world of celebrity chefs. More casual dining options include TAP Sports Bar and the South End Market, the Commonwealth Bar and Lounge, the Lobby Bar and the Knox Bar.
MGM says the 250 on-site hotel rooms are “inspired by the historic significance, iconic architecture and literary legacy of its urban surroundings.” Shopping options include Kringle Candle, Hannoush Jewelers and the first-ever Indian Motorcycle apparel shop.
The official opening ceremony Friday 10:30 a.m. is being marked by a parade featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales and “other surprise entertainment,” MGM says. Hundreds of the resort’s employees and construction workers are expected to participate in the ceremony.
Officials anticipate dice being tossed, cards in the air and slot machine reels whirling about 11 a.m.