| G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – What do you think about extending the time to serve alcohol from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. at MGM Springfield? The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) wants to hear from you, but quickly.
Mayor Domenic Sarno is among those who are considering supporting the change. He told Reminder Publications, “This is a very specific request to a unique venture and with the necessary restrictions and limitations – I'm open minded to it."
In a statement released by the MGC, “Today the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is requesting public comment on a draft of MGM Springfield’s gaming beverage license application and, specifically, its request for extended hours on the gaming floor. The Commission, during a public meeting at its Boston office, reviewed MGM’s draft application and decided to seek public feedback. All submitted comments will be reviewed and considered by the Commission before a final determination on MGM’s license application.”
Send comments via email at email@example.com with “MGM Springfield Liquor License Application” in the subject line. Mail written comments to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, 101 Federal Street, 12th Floor, Boston, MA 02110 Attn: Catherine Blue, General Counsel. Comments must be received by 4 p.m. on, June 4.
According to the statement from the MCG, “As required by the gaming law, MGM Springfield recently submitted a draft beverage license application to the MGC. The application is substantially complete and contains requests for 22 licensed areas throughout the property. Generally, the application seeks alcohol service at each of these areas between the hours of 8 a.m. - 2 a.m. According to the license application, all front-facing bars will close at 2 a.m. Also, MGM Springfield is requesting extended alcohol service between 2 a.m. - 4 a.m. specifically on the casino floor and only to patrons actively engaged in gambling. A recent legislative amendment provided the MGC with authority to consider a two-hour extension of alcohol service (between 2 a.m. – 4 a.m.) at licensed gaming facilities only on the gaming floor so long as the patron is actively gaming and to require the necessary restrictions and limitations.”
Alcohol service would not be available between the hours of 4 to 8 a.m. Alcohol will be available in the traditional venues – restaurants, the sports bar and on the gaming floor – as well as in the South End Market area, the movie theater, Kringle Candle and even in the Indian Motorcycle retail shop.
The extended hours for alcohol service in the gaming area will be for the “actively gaming guest only.” The license does not provide a criteria to fulfill the definition of “actively gaming guest.”
The application describes that until 1:30 a.m. all drinks will be served in glassware. After 1:45 a.m. the beverages will be transferred into frosted glasses for “actively gaming guests.”
According to the application, “frosted cups have the benefit of signaling who may have transferred from a bar and is not actively gaming. After 2 a.m. all alcoholic beverages will be served in frosted plastic cups.”
In reaction to a question posed on Facebook, Kency Gilet, a member of the Springfield Republican City Committee, wrote, “Good idea. But every other drinking establishment should have the same privilege. We can’t keep handing out wins to big business and ignore the struggling small, family owned businesses.”
Gilet added, “Where I was born and raised, New York State, bars serve until 4 a.m. I was utterly shocked that CT and MA don’t trust adults to make their own decisions.”
Former Springfield City Councilor Tim Rooke wrote, “It’s helpful to people who work 4 p.m. to midnight. People in casinos are on different schedules. I say approve the extended hours.”
Many people, though, expressed their disapproval of the extension and Virginia Rousseau Neill wrote, “There is also the issue of the noise of people leaving disturbing the sleep of others. Sleep deprivation is a serious health issue. One thing we dread about summer is being awakened at 2 a.m. by loud cars and motorcycles when the bars let out. Extending it ‘til 4 [a.m.] would seriously affect the health of those living in the vicinity who have to get up for work at 6 a.m.”
Veteran restaurant owner Rudi Scherff wrote, “There has never been a morning in my life when I woke up and wished that I had had an extra two hours of drinking time.”