MGM Springfield’s Card Room to Have 23 Poker Tables

MGM Springfield Poker Room

MGM Springfield’s poker room is the green area on the left. 

MGM Resorts International increased the size of the MGM Springfield poker room to 23 tables on Thursday. The unopened Springfield, Massachusetts casino’s previous poker table total had been 20. A Massachusetts gaming commissioner suggested the decision was motivated by a desire to offer more “interactive” forms of gambling.

When it opens, the MGM Springfield is expected to include 125,000 square feet of gaming space, a 250-room hotel, a 6-screen movie theater, and a retail shopping area. The $960 million MGM Springfield plans to open in October 2018.

At the moment, Masschusetts has no legal poker tables in the state. Over the next two years, the total will rise by over 120 tables, because an even bigger card room plans an opening in the Boston metropolitan area in the year after MGM Springfield opens for business.

Wynn Boston Harbor: 90-Table Poker Room

In June 2019, the $2.4 billion Wynn Boston Harbor will hold its grand opening. Wynn Resorts plans 90 poker tables for its Boston Harbor project, which is located in Everett, a suburb of Boston.

The Wynn Boston Harbor is going to be the premier site for card players in Massachusetts eventually, but MGM Springfield should become a destination for card players in the western half of New England.

MGM Resorts’ East Coast Poker Rooms

MGM Resorts is already a force in the East Coast poker market. MGM-owned Borgata’s 26-table poker room is the biggest and best card room in Atlantic City. In Baltimore, the MGM National Harbor has a 39-table poker room when has boosted the state’s poker market, according to Card Player.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission posted on Twitter that MGM’s decision for Springfield was a decision to promote more “interactive/communal” forms of gambling. In a meeting with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, MGM Resorts executives released the location of the MGM Springfield’s poker room. The area is set off from the main gaming space, between the main retail area and the food market.

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MGM Springfield: 23 Poker Tables

The MGM Springfield is expected to revitalize the downtown area of Springfield, the largest city in Western Massachusetts. Besides agreeing to build a $900 million-plus integrated casino resort in the area, MGM Resorts agreed to financially support civic festivals and become a patron of the arts in the local community.

The announcement that MGM Resorts would build a massive new gaming complex near the border between Connecticut and Massachusetts produced consternation in the Connecticut. Foxwoods Casino and Mohegan Sun long held a land-based gaming monopoly in New England, so the two tribal casinos in Connecticut were among some of the largest gaming complexes in the world. With less traffic from Boston and New York City in the coming years, both the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos expect harder financial times.

East Windsor Casino in Connecticut

To mitigate some of the financial impact, the two Native American tribes behind Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun — the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, respectively — backed a joint venture in the Hartford suburb of East Windsor.

Hartford is only 25 miles from Springfield, much closer than Hartford is to Mohegan Sun or Foxwoods, which are in the southeastern portion of the state. Thus, the satellite casino is designed as a firewall against capital flight out of the state. The Connecticut State Legislature backed that proposal in July 2017, thus setting the stage for a satellite casino in East Windsor which would keep Hartford-area gamblers away from MGM Springfield.

MGM Bridgeport Casino?

Meanwhile, MGM Resorts sued Connecticut to keep the East Windsor casino from ever happening. In 2015, MGM Resorts claimed the government of Connecticut violated its constitution by refusing to have a casino licensing process. MGM claimed its plan for a Bridgeport casino was not properly vetted, and thus the East Windsor casino was illegally approved.

In the summer of 2017, a US district judge ruled against MGM Resorts. That did not stop MGM Resort’s CEO, Jim Murren, from recently holding a press conference in which he unveiled a plan for an MGM Bridgeport Casino. Connecticut’s leader charge Murren of using the Bridgeport issue as a tool to delay the opening of the East Windsor casino, until the MGM Springfield is opened and collecting customers.

Whatever the case, MGM Springfield is going to offer more poker to New England’s gamblers than was expected previously. The decision comes at a time when poker rooms in Las Vegas are closing. MGM Resorts, itself a top Las Vegas Strip operator, said its decision was made in order to give visitors more skill-based gambling opportunities. Millennial gamblers do not like slot machines, so MGM Springfield wants to offer types of gaming which are more interactive and strategic.