A Thursday decision by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will see a request to reconsider its 2016 rejection of a proposed $700 million casino on the Brockton Fairgrounds (pictured) put on hold until September.
According to Mass Live…
Developer Mass Gaming & Entertainment petitioned the commission in June to revisit its application and to do so “without further delay.” Backed by Rush Street Gaming, the company reportedly communicated that the state’s southeastern region continues to suffer without a casino.
The federally-recognized Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe broke ground on April 5, 2016, on its First Light Resort & Casino in Taunton, just 30 min from the proposed Brockton casino. The $1 billion development remains in limbo, however, after a federal judge ruled that the tribe’s sovereign reservation was not valid. Siding instead with residents of Taunton who sued to block the casino.
Under Massachusetts’ 2011 expanded gaming law, as many as three casinos can operate in the state, including regions in Boston and Springfield and the southeastern region, also know as Region C. While the latter has yet to see the opening of a casino, Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor is expected to open in 2019, while as mentioned, MGM Springfield is set to open next month.
In its petition, Mass Gaming and Entertainment said…
“Reconsideration of MG&E’s application is not just the right thing to do for the Southeast region of the Commonwealth, it also is the legal thing to do.”
Process outlined by commission:
Members of the Gaming Commission said that a process must be established for dealing with the request for reconsideration; and that various issues need also be addressed and communicated to the Gaming Commission, as there have been numerous gaming industry changes, both in Massachusetts and outside the state, since the 2016 rejection.
The issues suggested and to be reported to the commission “by a date to be set by the Commission” include the review of:
- Massachusetts’ gaming market regarding expected demand for gaming
- The gambling market in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, to include projections and revenue receipts
- The ability to employ workers who possess casino skills
- Factors such as each region’s unemployment rate and whether the employment marketplace can satisfy job demand with a potential third gaming venue in the state
Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby, said…
With the casinos in Boston and Springfield opening, “we’ve got our hands full.”
Crosby and other commission members reportedly said that some preliminary staff review is possible before September.
The letter to the commission reportedly said…
“Put simply, reconsideration and approval of MG&E’s application would mean over $100 million dollars in the Commonwealth’s coffers and thousands of jobs for Massachusetts residents during the next 2-3 years as opposed to zero revenue and zero jobs for at least the next 2-3 years or more if any other potential bidder is considered.”
In its 2016 rejection of the Brockton casino, Crosby had strong words for Mass Gaming & Entertainment before that hearing even began, stating that the planned Brockton casino was a “great disappointment that “sits in the middle of a vast parking lot, completely isolated from any other operating part of the community, with no links or coherent strategies for broader urban renewal or economic development.”