Springfield has set an Oct. 10 deadline for companies to show they are qualified to operate a resort casino in the city.

The city said in a statement Friday that qualified responders will be selected for the second phase of the project by Oct. 31.  The city would pre-qualify companies based reputation, expertise, financial strength and project concept.

Mayor Domenic Sarno said in a statement that he is looking forward to 'robust competition.'

The goal is to select a company to operate a casino in Springfield by April.

At least four companies have shown an interest. State law legalizing casino gambling allows up to three regional casinos, including one in western Massachusetts.

The final decision must be approved by the city council, the city's voters and the state gambling commission.

[Via AP]