Ameristar Unveils Plans for Western Massachusetts Casino

Ameristar Casinos Inc. is the latest company to share its vision for gaming in western Massachusetts, having unveiled last week its plan for a proposed casino resort in Springfield, Mass.

Ameristar's plan follows similar proposals from MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming. Introduced on Oct. 23, it calls for a $910 million casino, resort and spa on a 40-acre site outside of downtown Springfield.

"Ameristar owns all 40 acres, which have been cleared and are immediately ready for construction," said Ameristar CEO Gordon Kanofsky. "With no displacement of existing residents or businesses, we will have a 12- to 18-month head start on other proposals. We will more quickly begin creating the desperately needed 2,000 union construction jobs, 2,300 permanent jobs and thousands of additional indirect jobs."

Ameristar's proposal includes:

• A 150,000-square-foot casino featuring 3,300 slot machines and 110 table games;
• A 500-room luxury hotel with 50 suites;
• Indoor and outdoor resort swimming pools;
• A spa;
• A fitness center;
• Retail amenities;
• Several food and beverage outlets, including restaurants from celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck and Martin Yan; and
• A conference and entertainment center.

"Since significantly less of our capital investment will be spent on land acquisition, site preparation and infrastructure, more of our investment will be utilized creating the world-class resort experience that will attract more visitors to Springfield and keep them coming back time and time again," Kanofsky continued. "Ameristar will generate the most tax revenue and act as the best catalyst for further economic development citywide."

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed the state's new gaming law, H. 3807 — "An Act Establishing Expanded Gaming in the Commonwealth" — on Nov. 22, 2011, after it was passed by both houses of the Massachusetts Legislature. The law creates a five-member Massachusetts Gaming Commission responsible for awarding and overseeing gaming licenses. The independent, bi-partisan commission will grant licenses for up to three casino resorts in three different regions of the state — including Springfield, in western Massachusetts.

Ameristar is one of four companies pursuing bids for a casino license in Springfield. Its competitors include Penn National, MGM and Hard Rock International.

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