After mixed first year, casino celebrates with birthday bash

BOSTON — Massachusetts' first Las Vegas-style casino is throwing itself a birthday bash with Aerosmith, New England Patriots cheerleaders and a five-tier cake.

But one year after opening, MGM Springfield has underperformed and shed hundreds of jobs. Some business owners also say the promised downtown revival hasn't materialized.

Casino president Michael Mathis promises the resort is retooling for its second year. Ahead of Saturday's festivities, he said the facility plans to emphasize non-gambling entertainment, overhaul its slot machine offerings and lobby for legalized sports gambling in Massachusetts.

But Colin Mansfield, a casino expert with Fitch, isn't convinced the adjustments will be game changers.

The nearly $1 billion entertainment complex, which was meant to revive the struggling Springfield region, faces a new rival in Encore Boston Harbor and potentially new competition in Connecticut.

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