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The new The New MGM Luxury Resort Casino Opens in Historic Springfield, Massachusetts

MGM Springfield

When you think of Massachusetts, you might think of the Boston Tea Party, of the ride of Paul Revere.  This state, in contrast to many others, has a history of being first to change course, and has given birth to many people who first changed the face of American history.

But Massachusetts is not the first to embrace the trend of casino gambling on the Eastern Seaboard.  Many other states east of the Rockies are now associated with this form of play, especially in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. But arguably, MGM Springfield is the first to incorporate a sense of important city history with entertainment, creating a sense of surprise when visiting the Resort, as well as on the Plaza that surrounds it. 

Just one month ago, on August 24th,  the first luxury casino resort opened in Springfield, rightly called the City of Firsts. Multiple Innovations were created here in the in the 19th and 20th centuries – including the printing of Noah Webster’s first American English Dictionary 1806, the first use of interchangeable parts and the assembly line in manufacturing 1819, the invention of  vulcanized rubber by Charles Goodyear in 1844, the first American gasoline-powered car, created in 1893 by the Duryea Brothers,  the first American motorcycle company, the Indian, in 1901, and the popular sport of basketball conceived in 1891, by Dr. James Naismith.

MGM Springfield

So, separate from the new substantial casino gambling dimension, MGM Springfield also pays homage to many of its important historical antecedents by showcasing some of the city’s artifacts around the hotel.  

As we walked into the lobby, we noted that the Springfield MGM paid homage to the city’s industrial past with an industrial chic design. In the Library, near the reception area,  were many books, dating back to the early 1900’s – all real, all readable. In the Lobby bar were multiple memorabilia including an antique Merriam-Webster dictionary, from the brothers George and Charles Merriam whose dictionary, inclusive of Noah Webster’s, was printed in Springfield in 1846.  There were Board Games, Sorry, Snakes And Ladders, and the first Board game, The Checkered Game of Life, from the Milton Bradley company, founded in Springfield in 1860. 

MGM Springfield

Also, in exploring the six-story, 250-room hotel and lobby, are examples of  Springfield innovations from Springfield Museums --a 1925 Edison Western Union Stock Ticker, a 1915 Springfield-made Telegraphone and an 1895 Edison Home Phonograph. In addition, decorative oddities -- from small animal skulls to big brass keys-- can be seen under glass dome jars.  The sense of history and sense of play combine to make much of the décor here unusual, but for the casino industry,  also fresh and to some degree, disruptive in a positive way. 

MGM Springfield
MGM Springfield

Further, on the hotel carpets are quotations of poetry by Emily Dickinson, and quotes by Oscar Wilde.  Emily had many of her poems published in her lifetime in The Springfield Republican, the city’s newspaper, and Oscar gave lectures in Springfield on his trip to America in 1882.  

The MGM hotel designers drew further inspiration from the city’s storied companies and individuals; one of which was The Indian Motorcycle Company – founded in Springfield in 1901. And then there was Dr. Seuss. Yes, Dr. Seuss, AKA Theodor Geisel, who was born in Springfield.  And, in the MGM Springfield Presidential Suite is a most unusual chandelier, a memorable homage to Dr. Seuss:  a chandelier created from hats, conceived from the Dr. Seuss book, The 500 Hats Of Bartholemew Cubbins.  

Susan Kime

Oscar Wilde Bedroom, Original Art on Walls

Susan Kime

As noted above, MGM used some of the hotel’s design elements  -- the darker woods, the used bricks – on the walls of the casino floor. But the casino design touches seem muted in the 125,000 square-foot casino, where the emphasis is on gaming: nearly 3000 slot machines, 120 table games, and 23-table poker room. and a high-limit VIP gaming area.

Yet, in our interview with Alex Dixon, the General manager of MGM Springfield, his view of the casino dimension is but one area of potential consumer interest. 

“We hope to draw customers from Hartford, Connecticut; Albany, New York; Providence, Rhode Island — all within 150 miles — as well as Boston – 80 miles east and Worcester, 52 miles.  And the draw will be entertainment, which is the core of what we do. Springfield’s biggest show venue is the Mass Mutual Center,  the 8000 seat venue,  and is right across the street from MGM. 

“ We are an entertainment company," he continued, "and if we can build a product that makes people excited, we can appeal to not just the traditional gambler, but to families who  come to a movie, a concert, get a great meal, or go to the outdoor skating rink or farmers' market. This is what the Outdoor Plaza is all about.” 

Well, yes. 

MGM Springfield

 

In exploring this Plaza, it appears actually like yet another entertainment hub. First, is the repurposed 131-year-old First Spiritualist Church. This is a deconsecrated church, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The church was built as the first French Protestant church in Springfield in 1887, subsequently sold in 1911 to the Springfield Congregational Union.

It is now the home of the Kringle Emporium – a shop that sells New England-made candles with unique scents ( Oak-Fig is but one of hundreds) along with a food bar that sells, among other things, adult milkshakes -- combinations of liquor and ice cream that seem to again symbolize the old history and the new tastes of this area.

MGM was deliberate with its design of the resort, incorporating such historic venues as the Church, The Massachusetts National Guard Armory and Chandler Union Hotel into the 14-acre property to make it feel more like a New England enclave than a casino/resort hotel.  

MGM’s unique identity -- a first in the City of Firsts,  further underscores Springfield’s unique reputation. Balancing this city’s important history with a new sense of play and entertainment is indeed a new idea, one that may become a template for new resort/casinos in historic areas for years to come.  

Stay Tuned. 

Susan Kime

Gaming Floor, MGM Springfield

MGM Springfield

Historic Armory Building in MGM Springfield Plaza

MGM Springfield

The Outdoor Plaza with Kringle Emporium In Distance

Susan Kime

Susan Kime's career combines publishing, journalism and editing. She was the Destination Club/Fractional Update Editor for Elite Traveler, and senior club news correspondent for The Robb Report's Vacation Homes. Her work has been published in Stratos, Luxury Living, European CEO, The London Telegraph, Caviar Affair, ARDA Developments, and Luxist/AOL. She was the Editor-in-Chief of Travel Conno...(Read More)

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