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SPRINGFIELD — Hanging conspicuously in the middle of the new MGM Resorts International casino here is a massive framed picture from 1888, showing every member of the Free and Accepted Masons Lodge, Springfield Commandery #6.
It is a sea of stone-faced men with comically wild facial hair, an image that is at once fascinating and weird.
And yet it fits the offbeat décor of the state’s first resort casino, which is brimming with appreciative nods to the city’s history and curious fragments from the past.
Seven years after Massachusetts legalized casino gambling, touching off a fierce competition among companies to stake their claim, MGM Springfield is set to open on Friday, marking the first time patrons can legally wager on table games such as blackjack and craps within Massachusetts.
The casino will have 2,550 slot machines, 120 table games, and 23 poker tables, giving it a moderately-sized gambling portfolio, with about half as many slots as the gargantuan Foxwoods resort.
MGM’s gambling floor is surrounded by restaurants, bars, shops, a bowling alley, cinema, event space, and a 250-room hotel.
The resort will employ nearly 3,000 people, about 35 percent of whom live in Springfield, according to casino officials.
With the $2.5 billion Wynn Resorts casino in Everett not scheduled to open until next June, MGM Springfield will have a head start on establishing a customer base in Massachusetts, and provide a first look at the impact of a full-fledged casino on the area.
Built in the city’s downtown just off Interstate 91, the casino is a high-stakes project for the Las Vegas company, which invested some $960 million into a development unlike any it has ever built.
“It was not without cost and not without some risk,” said Bill Hornbuckle, president of MGM Resorts.