MGM Springfield Has Officially Made Its Glitzy Debut

A parade and star-studded party welcomed the state's newest casino.

Photo via AP/Charles Krupa

A new era of gambling in Massachusetts officially kicked off on Friday morning, as the $960 million MGM Springfield casino threw open its doors.

As the state’s first resort casino with table games— the Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, which opened in 2015, only offers slots—the new destination opens seven years after the Massachusetts Legislature in 2011 approved three casinos and one slots parlor, and four years after voters declined to repeal the law in 2014.

Another resort-style competitor in Everett, Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor, is slated to open next summer.

Last night at an opening bonanza, Mark Wahlberg was on hand to announce that his family’s burger chain, Wahlburgers, would be setting up shop. The Blue Man Group and the Jabbawockeez showed up to do their thing. And Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is taking a victory lap.

In the lead-up to its grand opening, Sarno said he was enthusiastic about the economic impact the new destination would have on the area. “A phoenix has risen, and that phoenix is MGM,” he said, according to the State House News Service. “So come on to Springfield. The red carpet is rolled out. You’re going to have a clean, a safe and a fun time.”

MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren also said he believes the new location will help resuscitate a city that is “down on its luck” by tapping into the wealth of the “very affluent area” that surrounds it in New York, Connecticut, and the rest of Massachusetts. “We’ve developed something here, a real urban renewal project,” Murren said on CNBC. “We’ve put 3,000 men and women to work. I think we’re going to get a good return but I’m really gratified by the fact that we’re here helping this city pull itself up.”

As the clock ticked down to 11 a.m., thousands were reportedly waiting outside for a first crack at the slot machines and table games.

“Thank you to the local businesses, construction workers, design team, and every individual who contributed to helping us reach such a monumental milestone,” the casino tweeted Thursday, along with a time-lapse video of the construction process for the giant resort. “We are looking forward to a successful Grand Opening day tomorrow and cannot wait to share it with you!”