The developers of a proposed $677 million casino for the town of Brockton, Massachusetts told the state’s gaming regulators this week that they can bring in 4 million visitors a year and generate $2 billion in revenues in their first half-decade of operations. They also said they were a sure bet whereas the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s Project First Light Resort & Casino would be a crap-shoot due to potential litigation.
On Thursday Mass Gaming and Entertainment (MGE) presented details of their plan to regulators to follow up a more than 200 page application submitted earlier. MGE is a subsidiary of Rush Street Gaming and the sole remaining contender for the state’s 3rd casino license, which would be issued for the southeastern region of the state. Two casino licenses and a slots parlor license have already been issued in Massachusetts.
Brockton is within minutes of Taunton, where the Mashpees plan to build a $500 million casino resort on Indian land. The tribe does not need a license from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). Regulators have stated they have the right to not issue a commercial license in the SE region.
Much of MGE’s presentation was focused on the tribe’s potential to compete and return less revenue to the state. Under the tribe’s 2012 gambling compact with the state, First Light would only need to tender 17% of gaming revenues to the state, while any commercial casino would need to pay out 25%. If a commercial license is granted, the tribe would not be required to share any revenue with the state, but has agreements in place with Taunton for revenue sharing.
If the MGC awards a license to MGE’s Brockton casino project it would likely consist of a red brick complex including a 250 guestroom hotel with spa at the Brockton Fairgrounds, near the city’s high school. The casino itself would have a 92,000 square foot gambling floor with over 2,000 slots, 124 gaming tables, and a dedicated poker room. On-site amenities, according to the plan, would include a 25,000 square foot event center for small conventions and trade shows, 3,000 sq ft of restaurant and lounge space, 1,000 sq ft of retail space, and a parking garage with 3,000 spaces.
The complex would be completed within 30 months of breaking ground and the company expects to generate $100 million in taxes during the construction phase and provide about $9 million in roadway and other infrastructure improvements.
Further complicating the already difficult predicament in regards to the “if this, then that” dilemma of revenues generated by the Mashpee’s project, the Brockton casino would be required to pay less to Brockton if First Light were to open.
Although MGE has not indicated they would try legal means to halt the First Light project, they have predicted others would. Neil Bluhm, chairman of Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming told commissioners told commissioners that the tribal casino was likely to face lengthy lawsuits that could delay its opening. And although they state they are confident that they can compete and succeed with or without the tribe operating some 20 minutes away, Bluhm said that, “There is significant cost to the commonwealth if we don’t get a license,” he said “If you don’t, you’re crushing Brockton and taking a big gamble.”
The commission is expected to render a decision on whether or not to issue a license to Brockton by March.