New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell had a lot of hope on the new casino that New York developer KG Urban had proposed to set up in New Bedford. His hope was justified because the developer had campaigned for over eight years to build a casino in Massachusetts and spent over $10 million during the course of that time.
New Bedford had approved KG Urban’s proposal to construct a $650 million casino resort that would have a glass walled casino complex and give visitors a stunning view of the New Bedford harbour. Based on survey results more than 70% of New Bedford locals were in favor of the casino as it was supposed to generate employment opportunities and bring in revenue for the city. The casino was expected to generate around $12 million in gaming tax revenue for the city and the mayor was expecting to utilize those funds to develop the city.
However the New York developer recently informed the Massachusetts Gaming Commission that it wanted to withdraw its application to obtain a state license because it was unable to get investors to pump in sufficient funds for it to proceed with the project. KG Urban stated that its investors were not convinced that the New Bedford casino would be able to generate sufficient revenue due to the competition provided by casinos in Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Investors were also sceptical about the size of the Massachusetts gaming market given the fact that the state had approved two mega casinos that are expected to open by 2018. Wynn Resorts is opening out a casino in Everett and MGM Resorts is in the process of constructing a casino in Springfield. KG Urban investors believe that these two projects could hurt the New Bedford casino and decided to back out.
In a statement, Mayor Mitchell said “KG Urban’s decision to abandon the [casino] project is an extreme disappointment and a great shock given that it’s CEO Barry Gosin had led everyone to believe he would have the necessary funds to build the project. We have been united as a community and have done everything possible to support the KG casino proposal based on Mr. Gosin’s commitment to fully fund the project, so city residents and its leadership are all understandably upset by Mr. Gosin’s decision.”
Even if another gambling establishment steps up to take over the New Bedford casino site bid, it could take a long time for construction to begin, considering the fact that the licensing procedure in Massachusetts is a long drawn out process.
The only remaining casino bid for the final Massachusetts license is a proposal by Mass Gaming and Entertainment for a new casino at the Brockton Fairgrounds.