Caesars Head Gary Loveman Still Miffed over Massachusetts
CDC Gaming Reports ran a story this weekend noting that Loveman is still angry that Caesars was forced to back away from a plan to put a $1 billion casino at the site of the historic Suffolk Downs racetrack, also the company’s former partner in the would-be development.
Company walked away late last month
Caesars made a hasty exit from Massachusetts in late October after regulators uncovered allegedly organized crime ties to an investor in a now-cancelled Nevada hotel redevelopment project that would have seen the old Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall on the Las Vegas Strip transformed into a luxury hotel modeled after one in New York, the Gansevoort.
Both Caesars and the investor in question, German-born Arik Kislin, have criticized Massachusetts regulators as being far too strict.
Even Steve Wynn, another competitor for the lone Boston-area casino license expected to be issued sometime early in 2014, has said that he was surprised that Caesars was deemed unsuitable to operate in the state. It is worth noting that while Wynn passed a required voter referendum with overwhelming local support for its Everett casino plan back in June, the company has yet to clear regulatory background checks.
Suffolk Downs, located in the neighborhood of East Boston, lost its November 5 voter referendum in the wake of the departure of Caesars from the project. The loss of Caesars happened so close to election time that the company’s name still appeared on ballots, a fact that seemed to add to voter confusion even though Suffolk Downs had vowed to locate a new casino partner before the final application deadline of December 31.
Time has not healed Loveman’s wounds
For his part, a month later native son Loveman is still fuming.
“It’s not like we’re a new applicant with a great deal of uncertainty. We’re on display for examination every day,” Loveman said this week.
“If Steve (Wynn) had put in a better proposal than us and they had chosen Wynn, then congratulations to Steve. It would have been a better result than this,” he continued.
Massachusetts licenses much sought-after
Prior to his company’s ouster from the state, Loveman had been talking up Boston as having the potential to be the nation’s next big gambling center, an East coast answer to Las Vegas.
Indeed, for much of 2013 the competition for the three new casino licenses to be issued there has attracted a great deal of media attention as big name companies have fought to win approval from Massachusetts residents and gaming officials.
As we reported yesterday, this week Massachusetts regulators deemed Foxwoods Casino, the backer of a casino plan for the city of Milford, suitable to operate in the state so long as it was able to secure a partner to provide additional financing for the project. Foxwoods did just that, on Friday announcing that it had entered into a deal with Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc., a company formerly owned by Penn National, ahead of a public vote on the matter scheduled to take place on Tuesday.