The MGM Springfield casino recently opened a new sports lounge next to its casino floor.
However, the most exciting feature is that it could transition into a full-fledged sportsbook.
The lounge is already an exciting space for sports fans to get together on game days. The catch — everything is contingent on Massachusetts legalizing sports betting.
New sports lounge continues MGM Springfield’s rebound
The lounge could easily pass as a sportsbook at first glance. It features a 45-foot-wide HD video wall, 70 lounge chairs facing the screen, and the ability to show 16 different events at once.
The opening of the sports lounge helped celebrate the third anniversary of MGM Springfield’s opening. Even though it has been open for a short time, the casino has faced its share of triumphs and tribulations.
The COVID-19 pandemic halted momentum from its first year open. As a result, the $1 billion casino closed its doors for four months and laid off 2,000 workers.
Since its reopening in the second half of 2020, things have slowly progressed. As restrictions loosened, more customers began streaming through the doors.
July delivered a serious boost for the casino. It brought in over $23 million in gaming revenue, its highest monthly total since the pandemic began.
Considering that poker was unavailable to players during that time, that number is even more impressive. However, poker is set to return by the end of the year, which could provide another boost to the casino’s pandemic recovery.
Though the MGM Springfield is certainly rebounding, an ideal endpoint includes introducing sports betting to the lounge. So, where do things stand in Massachusetts for legal online sports betting?
State of legal sports betting in Massachusetts
With football season ready to begin, Massachusetts sports bettors are eager to place bets in their own state. However, the legalization of sports betting will not happen until the end of 2021 at the earliest.
This summer, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed Bill H 3977 by a vote of 156-3 to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts State Senate must vote on this bill. However, they will not see it until later in the year. As a result, uncertainty remains whether the bill will have enough votes in the Senate to become law, despite the momentum behind it.
MGM Springfield President and COO Chris Kelly emphasized that the casino will be ready to accommodate sports betting if it does indeed become legal, saying:
“We’re very optimistic that we’ll see legislation later this year and in the event we have the opportunity to start taking bets this is the room, we’re ready to rock and roll.”
Kelly added that the questions he gets most from customers pertain to when they can place bets at the casino. This shows the eagerness of players to get in on the action.
Pressure is also on the state to legalize sports betting to keep Massachusetts bettors within state borders.
Both New Hampshire and Rhode Island have legalized sports betting, with other New England states soon to follow. If Massachusetts Senators elect to strike down the bill, they risk a large amount of money leaving the state that could’ve otherwise benefitted both citizens and companies.
Though there won’t be any changes to the sports betting landscape in Massachusetts in the immediate future, there is hope on the horizon for prospective bettors in the state.
MGM Springfield’s efforts with this new lounge and potential sportsbook show what Massachusetts can offer to sports bettors. If the state does decide to legalize sports betting, there is no telling what other exciting attractions may be on the way.