On Thursday, a unanimous decision to proceed with the application process for a $650 million resort casino on the Brockton, Massachusetts Fairgrounds was made. This was good news for the only remaining applicant with a hat in the ring, Mass Gaming & Entertainment.
Among the proponents for the casino project, Brockton’s mayor, Bill Carpenter, was concerned the five board members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission might alter or put the brakes on the process. This would be due to the application withdrawal of competitor New Bedford last month when lenders backed out of the deal. Concerns regarding time constraints and the possibility of a Wampanoag Indian casino opening in neighboring Taunton were cited for the recall.
Earlier in the day, the mayor, along with Mass Gaming Chairman Neil Bluhm, presented the board with updates on the project as well as examples of how the casino would positively impact the city. The locations economic viability was questioned by Attorney General Maura Healey and Commission Chairman, Stephen Crosby when New Bedford pulled out of the race. The mayor told the board that his development partners, led by Bluhm, Rush Street Gaming chairman, were “highly qualified” and “ready, willing and able” to build a resort on the Brockton Fairgrounds. He added, “And to punish them because the other applicants fell short of the mark is just grossly unfair, and it’s punitive to not just Brockton, but the metro south region.”
The mayor indicated that considering all of time and money Mass Gaming put into the process, not only would they have solid grounds for a lawsuit if the board decided to delay the process, but that they would win. While it’s unknown how much Mass Gaming invested in the Brockton license, public records show that a local election that narrowly approved their plan cost the corporation $1.6 million.
The mayor was pleased with the board’s decision to renew their commitment to the schedule establishing the licensing process for the region. However, in order to be granted licensure, proponents must prove that the resort casino will be a value to the region, and that the eligibility criteria have been met, according to state law.
If the plan comes to fruition it could mean an additional 1,500 jobs for the area as well as $100 million to the state, and a $10 million annual minimum to the city of Brockton. A finished application must be submitted to the state’s gaming commission by September 30.