Live stream: MGM Resorts International, ...
Robert Rizzuto: 
Hello everyone. Folks are starting to make their way into the City Stage theater here in downtown Springfield.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 4:31 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Throughout the forum, I'll work to provide you with color from inside the theater, analysis of what is being discussed and answer any questions you may have. The seats are starting to fill and we are still scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. so stay tuned!
Tuesday December 11, 2012 4:39 Robert Rizzuto
MGM casino supporters gather outside forum in downtown Springfield. Stick with @masslivenews for live video & analysis.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 4:43 RRizzuto413
City officials & casino executives talking ahead of the jump off at the casino forum here at City Stage in Springfield.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 4:49 RRizzuto413
Robert Rizzuto: 
The capacity of the main theater here is 491 and they have set up an overflow room with a monitor that holds approximately 85 people. It will be interesting to see how many folks show up. So far, probably about 200+ in the room.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 4:54 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Penn National Gaming made headlines earlier as they opened an office in downtown Springfield. That story is here:
Tuesday December 11, 2012 4:56 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Then later in the day, The Republican's publisher announced the company has signed an agreement with Penn National to sell them the property should Penn get the sole Western Mass. casino license. That report from Dan Ring is here:
Tuesday December 11, 2012 4:57 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
In other casino-related news, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse said late last night that despite his about face on the prospect of a casino in the Paper City, that none of the projects on the table may meet his criteria for support. That report from veteran reporter Mike Plaisance is here:
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:00 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
And we've begun.

Mayor Sarno: If we do this the right way- this can be a game changer for the city of Springfield.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:02 Robert Rizzuto
Still some open seats in the theater, although people are walking in now.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:03 RRizzuto413
Robert Rizzuto: 
The city has asked the casino companies not to comment on the other's proposal as a rule of the forum.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:04 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Penn National Gaming officials are taking the stage to give their proposal.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:06 Robert Rizzuto
Penn National has 45 minutes to give their pitch. Local partner Peter Picknelly is not in attendance.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:08 RRizzuto413
Robert Rizzuto: 
Penn National President Timothy J. Wilmott: Partnership with Peter Picknelly is the right one in the right community.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:10 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Penn National is now using a promotional video to introduce the group to the company.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:11 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Kansas City mayor speaks in video about positive experience working with company. For some background, Penn National Gaming owns 26 facilities in 18 states.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:13 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Wilmott: Our project will require more moving parts in northern section of downtown than any other.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:17 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Penn National to address traffic and parking concerns.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:20 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Company Official: 90 percent of traffic that would come to our site would use highways.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:20 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Penn National says its project includes enhancements to local highways, such as direct on and off-ramps direct to casino.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:22 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Penn National says numbers aren't exact, but they expect their project to create: 2500 construction jobs and 1,500 casino-related jobs.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:24 Robert Rizzuto
A look at a new conceptual drawing of the Penn National proposal.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:25 RRizzuto413
Robert Rizzuto: 
Penn National says it wants to create a food-beverage bar scene in Springfield that "people can be proud of."
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:26 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Penn National says the local plan involves a partnership with Doug Flutie to open his first sports bar.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:27 Robert Rizzuto
Penn National says Doug Flutie is on board with their casino project.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:28 RRizzuto413
Robert Rizzuto: 
Penn National talking about moving The Republican news organization as outlined by the publisher earlier today in Dan Ring and Peter Goonan's reports.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:29 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Penn National: Our joint venture involves about 20 acres of property along riverfront. We will be responsible for whatever we create there- not the city.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:32 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Penn National says it is in talks with New England Farm Workers Council about rehabbing the Paramount Theater aka the Hippodrome. "We're not looking to take entertainment business away from anyone in Springfield."
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:34 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Just as a note, the crowd is an attentive and diverse one, although the room is not at capacity.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:35 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Penn National closing with a video showing construction of a casino and some of the lights and glitz of the resorts.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:36 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
As another side note, both Penn National and MGM spent the day at City Stage preparing for their presentations tonight. Both companies had dress rehearsals on stage before the crowd entered.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:37 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Penn National President Eric Schippers: "We've been trying to figure out how to plug our economic engine into other businesses and facilities in the area.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:39 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Schippers says that some companies take "cookie cutter approach to diversity," but they will spend "a lot of time coming up with robust diversity plan."
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:41 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Schippers says donations to community are "independent" of project and done because they care for the communities they inhabit.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:42 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Both Penn National and MGM have been spending money in Springfield over the past few months. For a look at the latest on donations to community groups, read Dan Ring's story here:
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:44 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Penn National invites community to their office on Main Street to see the plans and speak to company representatives. And we are in a brief intermission,
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:45 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
So far, the crowd is engaged and interested. Penn national got a respectful applause. MGM is up next in about 5 minutes.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:46 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
In other casino-related news, a Bay State developer is maneuvering to bring a slot parlor to Worcester. That story is here:
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:54 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
And MGM is introducing itself through a promotional video.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:55 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
MGM comes out the gate with a video highlighting glitz and excitement. It is showing the lights, shows and attractions associated with some of their resort casinos.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:57 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
And the video gets applause from the crowd.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:57 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
MGM Chairman Jim Murren is at the podium.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:58 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Murren actually grew up in Fairfield, Ct.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:59 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Murren is speaking of MGM's "iconic international resorts" while glamorous, stylized photos of the buildings shuffle slowly on a slideshow behind him.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 6:01 Robert Rizzuto
MGM Chair Jim Murren addresses the crowd at City Stage.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 6:04 RRizzuto413
Robert Rizzuto: 
Murren says his company can deliver benefit of big name to city of Springfield through entertainment, dining and retail shopping.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 6:05 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Murren: Most folks would probably consider us an entertainment company.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 6:06 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
He says that although gaming made up the largest chunk of the company's 2011 profits in the US (38%), they are more known for their ancillary aspects.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 6:07 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
Murren says that 63% of its employees are minorities.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 6:08 Robert Rizzuto
Robert Rizzuto: 
The Human Rights Campaign ranked the company high for its treatment of LGBT employees. MGM International earned a perfect score in its Corporate Equality Index this year.
Tuesday December 11, 2012 6:11 Robert Rizzuto
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