MGM wants to delay the opening of its planned resort casino in western Massachusetts by a year because of a major highway project taking place nearby, the associated press reported.
The Las Vegas casino giant submitted a revised project schedule last week to the state Gaming Commission that calls for construction to be completed in August 2018 and the casino to officially open September 5, 2018, when the highway work is expected to be done.
The $800 million hotel, casino and entertainment complex for Springfield's downtown had been expected to open sometime in the fall of 2017 as the state's first Vegas-style casino.
Michael Mathis, president of MGM Springfield, said the decision was difficult but the right move for the business, the state and the city.
"At this point, we want to make sure we open the best way we can," Mathis told the commission. "The industry is littered with many examples of companies that made the wrong decisions for opening. Those are long-lasting decisions that take a long time to recover from. In a very competitive environment, we may lose some of these customers, frankly, forever."
MGM held a ceremonial groundbreaking at the 14.5 acre site in March, but the project has been held up by state and city concerns about the impact to historic properties.
Casino officials said upgrades to the highway, which is a main connector to nearby Hartford, Connecticut, are another major hurdle, according to the AP.
The highway project is expected to cause significant congestion, with a number of lane and ramp closures affecting traffic around the casino development. Other road restrictions could further compromise access for casino patrons, employees and vendors, casino officials said.
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