Voters in Springfield have approved a casino agreement between city officials and MGM Resorts International.

The vote in Tuesday's referendum marks a key milestone for MGM, which has proposed an $800 million resort casino in the city's South End. Complete unofficial returns showed the referendum passed by 58 percent to 42 percent, with 24,278 votes cast.

The state's casino law requires voter approval of a host community agreement before a prospective casino developer can apply to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for one of the three regional resort casino licenses the law allows.

MGM promised in the agreement with Mayor Domenic Sarno to pay Springfield more than $25 million a year if the casino gets built.

Two other companies, Mohegan Sun and Hard Rock, also hope to compete for the western Massachusetts casino license.