The Massachusetts Gaming Commission discussed a number of important issues at a Thursday meeting held at Boston’s John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center.
The state gambling regulator gave the nod to MGM Resorts International’s request to delay the opening of its $800-million casino resort in Springfield to September 2018. The reason for this is the reconstruction of the Interstate 91 viaduct, which is expected to be completed by August 2018.
Commissioners have not been particularly keen on the delay as the state is to lose about $10 million in tax revenue for every month the casino does not operate. However, they admitted that it would not be good for the business, if MGM opens its resort at a time when key I-91 lanes are closed down as this would influence visitors’ first impressions in a negative way.
Another matter that was discussed during the Thursday meeting was Brockton and its application for a $650-million casino resort in Southeastern Massachusetts, or Region C as it is officially referred to. In fact, the city has remained the sole contender for a casino license in the area, after New York developer KG Urban dropped its bid for a gambling venue in New Bedford.
The Brockton proposal is backed and funded by Mass Gaming and Entertainment, affiliate of Chicago-based gaming company Rush Street Gaming. In their first official statement after the withdrawal of the New Bedford bid, backers of the Brockton project told state gaming officials that their bid was by no means affected by the recent turn of events.
Neil Bluhm, Chairman of Rush Street Gaming’s board, said on Thursday that they have everything needed to provide Southeastern Massachusetts with a profitable casino.
Last month, KG Urban cited the potential opening of a tribal casino in Taunton as one of the reasons why it had decided to drop its proposal. The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe has been calling for federal approval in order to be able to launch its long-desired gambling venue. If it succeeds in this venture, the new casino would not be subject to state laws.
The potential opening of a tribal gaming facility has resulted in considerable speculation whether the Massachusetts Gaming Commission would eventually grant the Southeastern Massachusetts license. With the newly launched slots parlor in Plainville, the $1.7-billion Wynn Resorts casino in Everett, and the latest Rhode Island gaming facility, which is to be located not far from the Massachusetts border, the casino market in the region is at risk of becoming oversaturated.
However, Mr. Bluhm noted that according to him as well as a number of gaming analysts, Brockton has every chance to host a successful and profitable casino due to its location. In addition to this, it could open doors before the Springfield and Everett resorts. The executive said that they are ready to commence construction once they are given the necessary approval. And the property may be launched by the early summer of 2018, provided that everything goes as planned.
Gaming commissioners said that they will consider the Brockton proposal as the only bid for the Region C casino license. However, they noted that they may decide not to grant the license at all. Mass Gaming and Entertainment has up until September 30 to submit some final documents. The state gaming regulator is expected to announce its decision later in 2015.