Saturday January 12, 2013

WEST SPRINGFIELD -- Hard Rock International announced Friday submittal of an application to the Mass-achusetts Gaming Co-mmission for the development of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino New England on the campus of Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield.

The resort would be created on a dedicated 38-acre area of Eastern States’ eastern parcel as an enhancement to the largest, most popular visitor destination in the region, the company said in a release.

The project is planned to utilize a mix of non-gaming and gaming amenities, to include a first-class hotel of 400 to 500 rooms, featuring a Rock Spa and tropical, indoor pool deck; an approximately 200,000-square-foot casino with 100 to 125 table games and 2,500 to 3,000 slot machines, plus a Hard Rock Cafe.

Hard Rock will join a crowded field for the Western Massachusetts casino license, competing against MGM Resorts and Penn B-National Gaming, which each have plans for Springfield resorts, and Mohegan Sun, which has proposed a casino in Palmer, according to The Boston Globe.

The state gambling commission controls three resort casino licenses and will issue no more than one in each of three regions of the state.

The commission’s application deadline is Tuesday.

Developers who want to vie for a license have until then to submit extensive financial documentation and pay a nonrefundable $400,000 fee.

In the western region, MGM and Penn have already submitted their fees, according to the commission.

A West Springfield Hard Rock resort, planned for a rural site, would differ dramatically from projects pitched in neighboring Springfield, wh-ere MGM and Penn are pursuing downtown resorts.

No proposal can win a B-license unless endorsed by the voters of the host community in a municipal election.