|By Samaia Hernandez and Janice Posada,
The Hartford Courant, Conn.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jan. 12, 2012--MGM Resorts International said on Wednesday that it will join with a western Massachusetts developer on a 150-acre casino proposed for Brimfield, Mass.
An official at MGM Resorts, which has a licensing agreement with the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket to run the MGM Grand hotel, said the company on Thursday will announce a partnership with developer David Callahan for the Brimfield proposal.
Callahan is CEO of Palmer Paving Corp. and a principal of Rolling Hills Estates Realty Trust.
Callahan met with Brimfield selectmen on Oct. 24 to express an interest in developing the land his realty trust owns north of the Massachusetts Turnpike in Brimfield, which is not far north of the Connecticut border. He and MGM are planning to announce development plans at 11 a.m. Thursday at Hitchcock Academy in the town.
Massachusetts lawmakers approved legislation legalizing casino gambling in November. The bill allows the establishment of a single slots parlor anywhere in the state, and three full-scale casinos: one each in the Boston area and the southeastern and western portions of the state.
The Mohegan tribe, which operates the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, has proposed building a casino in Palmer -- which is just west of Brimfield -- and has negotiated a 99-year lease on 152 acres in the town. Both the Palmer and Brimfield proposals would compete for the western Massachusetts license.
Other casino proposals are vying for the western region license, including some in Holyoke and Springfield, said Jennifer Baruffaldi, a spokeswoman for Citizens for Jobs and Growth in Palmer.
Hard Rock International, the owner of Hard Rock Cafe, announced in November that it was teaming with Paper City Development LLC to develop and operate a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Holyoke.
Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino have been expecting the competition for years. The two casinos draw up to one-third of their customers from Massachusetts, according to estimates by the Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Each month, both casinos pay 25 percent of their slot revenues to Connecticut's general fund. This past year, those revenues have averaged about $15 million per casino per month.
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