KG Urban Enterprises is a New York based developer who would like to build a casino property in the New Bedford area of Massachusetts. The company has proposed a Foxwoods-run facility to be located along the waterfront where a power plant was previously located. Parts of the plant would be preserved during the $650 million casino resort project, with a public harborwalk and other connecting areas added to provide easy access to the resort.
Just yesterday, a vote took place in New Bedford to seek the opinion of residents in the city. The citywide vote saw 11,395 individuals voting at the polls and 8,355 voted yes to the following question:
“Shall the City of New Bedford permit the operation of a gaming establishment licensed by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to be located on approximately 43 acres of land located off of MacArthur Drive, which land includes the former Cannon Street power station?”
Overwhelmingly, the residents of New Bedford voted YES, a total of 73% of those voting in approval. It was crucial that the project be approved by the residents of New Bedford as the area is currently in competition to receive the only casino license in the southeastern portion of the state.
The other competitor for the gaming license would be creating a gambling facility at Brockton Fairgrounds, which was narrowly approved by the residents back in May. By the end of 2015, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission should announce which of the two bidders will receive the gaming license.
Even though the approval percentage was high in New Bedford, there are still some who fell the project will have a negative impact. Some feel as though a new gaming facility would create an increase in traffic and criminal activity in the area. The fishing industry is also concerned that a new casino might harm their trade.
If chosen for the casino license, KG Urban would be paying the town $4.5 million as an initial payment and then pay at minimum, $12.5 million as soon as the resort is operational. More money will then be spent to improve the waterfront as well as clean up.