Casino process heats up in MA

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There may only be one casino developer left in the race for a Western Mass casino but the process is far from over.

Just this week another Western Mass casino proposal was rejected by voters.

Now with Mohegan Sun and Hard Rock out of consideration, MGM remains the sole developer here in the area.

Never before has a state taken on a casino process quite like this.

"Trying to learn the subtleties and the nuances of an industry that we're new to and that Massachusetts is new to," said Chairman of the state Gaming Commission, Stephen Crosby. 

CBS 3 caught up with Crosby in Boston.

"We've been spending months now and millions of dollars investigating all of these applicants," he said. 

Each one of those applicants has come to public meetings. Everything from their past, to their present to their potential future in MA is under scrutiny by the commission.

"It is really detailed, it is really rigorous and I think it's what will protect, in the long run, the integrity of the process and the industry in the state," Crosby said. 

The process has already weeded out two developers here in Western Mass.

"There is a tremendous amount of local control," Crosby said of the process. 

That local control, the power of a vote, has left MGM as the sole gaming company left here in western Mass.

But to the commission and to MGM, that's no guarantee of a license.

"Ever since our successful referendum in July we've been hard at work daily, refining what is already a great project," said Mike Mathis, vice president of global gaming for MGM. 

MGM must still pass a background check by the commission, which is anticipated in the coming weeks.

Crosby says each of the meetings, and each vote by a town brings them closer to the ultimate goal.

"Trying to figure out how to do what the legislature has asked us to do which is to protect the integrity of this industry, that was job one," Crosby said. 

All casino applicants are facing a Dec. 31 deadline when all final applications are due.

It still remains to be seen what the final vote will be in Palmer, as Mohegan Sun has formally asked the town for a vote recount.

CBS 3 Springfield will continue to follow those developments and this process as the deadline approaches.

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