Massachusetts Has a Growing Casino Landscape
Full steam ahead is the theme for the state of Massachusetts and the casino industry. They have one established location in Plainville, Massachusetts called Plainridge Park Casino. The town of Plainville where it is located has the potential to collect $2.7 million in revenue. The state has expectation of a bigger slice of the pie with $82 million in the first year of its operations. The popular online slots industry has had a motivating impact in this dialogue. Other cities around the state have also thrown their hat in the ring. However, there are still some hurdles to jump including environmental concerns, existing sites with historical value, and an existing Interstate project. Additionally, neighboring states have begun to strategize ways to lower the impact to their revenue from Massachusetts’s new casino status.
Other Interested Cities
Springfield, Everett, Brockton, and New Bedford are currently in various stages to house a new casino. Springfield is the closest of the four locations to realize having a casino in its backyard. The mayor stands in firm support of the MGM $800 million venture that will also be a resort situated on 14.5 acres. Everett is next in line with the developer Wynn’s $1.7 billion resort casino on a 30 acres property. Both Brockton and New Bedford are in competition for the last license to build a casino resort. This activity will be another option to slots for fun. Before this can be a reality for these four cities, there are a few challenges they must overcome.
Hurdles To Jump
Historic buildings that are located on the site of MGM’s project in Springfield have caused a slight stall in progress. In addition, the improvements being made on Interstate 91 will be completed around the same time as the tentative casino opening day in 2018. Both issues are moving forward toward resolution with the support of the mayor. This has not stopped the groundbreaking, which took place in March.
The city of Everett has an environmental problem with the 30 acres of land that was the site of a chemical plant. Las Vegas based Wynn has to provide an EIR (Environmental Impact Report) on its plans to address cleanup as well as traffic congestion questions. The report is expected by the end of July. There is another challenge to Everett’s bid from the cities of Revere, Somerville, and Boston. They have filed a lawsuit citing impropriety with the licensing process of the Gaming Commission. The results are still pending.
Only three state licenses for casinos were approved by the legislature. While Springfield and Everett have secured their licenses, New Bedford and Brockton are trying to win the last one. The town citizens have signed on by passing a referendum. One of the development companies has passed the background investigation by the state commission, while the other is still waiting for the results. Once this has been completed, the final proposals must be submitted by September 30. A caveat is both proposals can be declined by the Gaming Commission.
The casinos in Rhode Island and Connecticut are taking steps to mitigate the impact of the new locations in Massachusetts. Specifically, the Twin River Casino in Rhode Island has plans for more games such as casino slots, poker, roulette, and craps. Additionally, construction for a hotel is in the works. Connecticut’s popular Mohegan Sun and Foxwood Casinos want to team-up with a site near the state border to combat its rival MGM in Springfield. They have already announced the open bid process to cities in the areas of interest.
There is one other battle raging between Indian tribes and the state for approved casinos, but those proposals are currently waiting at the federal level. Whatever the outcome for these four cities, Indian tribes, and the state of Massachusetts, one thing is clear; casinos are here to stay for its citizens and neighbors.