SPRINGFIELD (CBS) – The highly-anticipated, $1 billion MGM Springfield casino is set to open at 11 a.m. on Friday.
A procession featuring the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales will kick off the festivities at 10:30 a.m. at State and Main streets. Guests are invited to view the procession as it heads down Main Street and ends at the entrance to the property.
Gov. Charlie Baker toured the new casino on Thursday.
“This will be a big win for this region. I believe it,” Baker said, adding that the new casino is bringing 3,000 jobs to the region.
“I’m so proud of what we’ve done here… I think it will be a model for the industry,” said Mike Mathis, MGM Springfield president.
Others say the casino will improve the city’s downtown and also make it safer as well.
“We have 20 police officers, we have 20 gaming agents, we have 2,000 cameras. This is not a place to commit a crime,” said Steve Crosby, chair of the Mass Gaming Commission.
Movie star Mark Wahlberg announced Thursday his family’s Wahlburgers restaurant will open there next year. “We are not the elitist kind of coastal type of business,” Wahlberg said. “We want to be within the communities, we want to share our experience with other families like our family. Good hard working people. What better place than Springfield to do that?”
There will be some road closures starting at 4 a.m. including on Main Street, from Court Street to Union Street; State Street from MGM Way to Dwight Street, and Union Street from Main Street to Hall of Fame Avenue.
On Interstate 91, Exits 6 northbound and southbound will be closed starting at 6 a.m. Friday and are expected to reopen by 4 p.m.
Several underpasses along East and West Columbus Ave. will also be closed to thru traffic.
Visitors are encouraged to park for free at The Big E and enjoy the free express shuttle to the property beginning at 6 a.m. Shuttle buses will run every 5-10 minutes from 6 a.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Saturday.