MGM Resorts Offers Round-Trip Bus Service to Springfield Casino

MGM Springfield Bus Trips

MGM Springfield also provides free local bus tours called “The Loop”. They depart 10am to 10pm and take 60 minutes.

MGM Resorts International is offering round-trip bus service from Connecticut cities and towns to its casino in Springfield, Massachusetts. Round-trip fair for a trip to the MGM Springfield is only $20.

The promotion from MGM Resorts pays for itself, because the Las Vegas casino company is offering $20 gaming vouchers and $10 in free food in the casino’s food court for riders who are 21 years old or older. The casino bus tours depart from eight different cities in Connecticut: Hartford, West Hartford, East Hartford, Glastonbury, Middletown, New Britain, Windsor Locks, Enfield, and Farmington.

After the Connecticut tribal casinos unsuccessfully sought a satellite casino to block gamblers from the Hartford area visiting MGM Springfield, MGM Resorts’ bus promotion is another twist of the proverbial dagger.

Bus Service to Massachusetts, New Hampshire

Of course, MGM Resorts is not targeting Connecticut only. The casino operator also has a bus program for select cities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, too.

Connecticut gamblers have other means of mass transit to reach the MGM Springfield. Many are taking the Hartford Line commuter train to Springfield. The Hartford Line stops throughout Connecticut along the I-91 corridor. When visitors reach Springfield Station, they are a 15-minute walk to MGM Springfield.

Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods Bus Service

MGM Resorts’ busing promotion is nothing new. Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Casino, the two tribal gaming resorts in Connecticut, long have bused gamblers to their facilities in southeastern Connecticut.

In their hay day, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods drew many customers from Boston, Providence, and New York City. That was before Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York state legalized commercial casinos and/or racinos. In a fragmented casino niche due to market saturation, the tribes now struggle to maintain their base of support in Connecticut.

Connecticut Casino Revenues Down 10%

Since MGM Springfield opened in late-August, both the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Tribe (Foxwood) have released figures showing they have lost about 10% of their slots revenue year to year from 2017’s numbers. They point directly at MGM’s casino for the decline.

It was not supposed to be that way. When the MGM Springfield received a license in 2014, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun successfully petitioned the Connecticut legislature to approve a mini-casino or satellite casino for the Hartford area.

Satellite Casino Plan

Since Hartford is 25 miles from Springfield but 50 to 70 miles from the Connecticut tribes’ casinos, they argued that a “firewall” had to be built to keep Hartford-area gamblers in the state. Eventually, the Hartford suburb of East Windsor was chosen for a satellite casino, which would be owned as a joint venture by Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.

The Connecticut legislature passed the East Windsor casino bill. Gov. Dannel Malloy signed off on the plan. All that was needed was approval from the Indian Bureau, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The tribes submitted their plan to the US Indian Affairs Bureau.

Tribes’ Struggles with Interior Department

When amendments to a gaming compact are submitted to the Interior Department, officials are supposed to reply to the petition in 90 days. Instead, the office of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke waited for the better part of a year to reply.

Once a lawsuit forced his hand, Zinke’s Indian Affairs official turned down the request. The tribes filed an appeal, but a US federal judge eventually ruled Ryan Zinke had to give an answer — but that answer did not have to be “Yes”.

Since then, the two tribes have alleged that Ryan Zinke met with lobbyists from MGM Resorts International. They claim he was influenced by the Las Vegas lobbyists to rule against the tribal casinos. Ryan Zinke is facing a series of ethics probes, but whether the Mohegan and Mashantucket tribes’ allegations are ever investigated is another matter.

MGM Springfield’s The Loop Bus Tours

The interstate bus trips are not the only mass transit program MGM Resorts has focused on.¬†MGM Resorts also worked with the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) to create “The Loop” bus tours, which are free bus tours given by tourists to Springfield. The Loop tours, show in the picture above, depart from Union Station from 10am to 10pm on Wednesday through Sunday. The tours take 60 minutes during the day and 40 minutes at night, when the tour is truncated.