Massachusetts Gaming Commission Hears Proposal for $677 Million Brockton Casino
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is holding a hearing on the $677 million casino proposal being put forward by Mass Gaming & Entertainment today. The meeting is set for Tuesday afternoon at 4 pm at Massasoit Community College. If approved, the casino would be build in Brockton, Massachusetts.
The caisno would be built on the Brockton Fairgrounds. At present, Plainridge Racetrack is the only casino (racino) open in Massachusetts.
That will not be the case for long. MGM Resorts is planning to open the MGM Springfireld Casino in 2018, while Wynn Resorts is planning the Wynn Everett Casino in the Boston suburb of Everett.
About Brockton Casino
The Brockton casino has received a great deal less fanfare than the operations set to be built by MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts, but it is part of the same casino initiative. In 2011, the people of Massachusetts voted in a statewide referendum to approve up to 3 casino licenses for the state. It was during the latter stages of the global recession and the state was desperate to find new ways to generate tax revenues.
Thus, the Brockton casino is the third of the three licenses approved in 2011. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission placed priority on building a casino in the Boston metropolitan area and in Western Massachusetts. Both of those licenses attracted multiple bids from top national and regional gaming companies.
Mass Gaming & Entertainment
Mass Gaming & Entertainment is the only applicant for the third license. Mass Gaming is a subsidiary of Rush Street Gaming out of Chicago. Rush Street Gaming is the brainchild of Neil Bluhm and Greg Carlin. The two partnered with Hyatt Gaming, INC on Falls Management Company, with the hope of getting into Canadian casino management.
Eventually, FMC became the management team of Casino Niagara in 1998, then built the full casino in 2004. Riverboat Gaming license in Illinois (2008), the Riverwalk Casino Hotel in Vicksburg, Mississippi (2008), the Rivers Casino (2009), and the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia (2010).
In 2009, Bluhm and Carlin formed Rush Street Gaming to manage the properties across the United States. Their company now employs over 4,000 workers.
Gambling in Southeastern Massachusetts
The idea behind the Brockton casino is to build the sole licensed casino in Southeastern Massachusetts. Neil Bluhm and his group want to secure that license, but have expressed concerns that the MGC was dragging its feet on the project in the past.
In September 2015, Bluhm spoke at a public hearing in Massachusetts in which he indicated his company might withdraw its proposal, which was worth an estimated $200 million to $650 million at the time. Bluhm suggested the Massachusetts Gaming Commission was dragging its feet, because it wanted to see the results of legal action involving the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Tribe.
At the time, Neil Bluhm said to the commission, “I’ve got other things to do. Do I want to be here? Yes. I’m not giving an ultimatum, but I’m not going to sit here waiting forever.”
Mashpee Indian Tribal Casino?
The implication is the MGC was waiting to see if the Mashpee Indians would gain federal approval for a tribal casino. If so, the Gaming Commission likely would push Mass Gaming and Entertainment to the side. Neil Bluhm did not want to prepare the financing and casino development plans, only to have his project pulled at the last minute.
Since then, it appears as if the hurdles have been cleared. The casino plan has increased to its current max total investment, so a Brockton casino appears to be closer to fruition than any other time in the past few years. Tuesday’s meeting is expected to be instrumental in the decision making process.
About Neil Bluhm
Neil Bluhm’s interest in building casinos ranges far and wide. In 2015, Neil Bluhm was in Osaka, talking about the potential of building a casino in Japan’s second largest city. The plan was contingent on Japan passing a casino bill into law in the near future.
The casino bill in Japan has been discussed in correlation to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The main plan was to build a casino or two in the metropolitan area around Tokyo, which is the largest single metropolitan area in the world (with 40 million people). Politicians and casino developers like Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands and Jim Murren of MGM Resorts have discussed the possibility of building a casino in Tokyo.
Neil Bluhm on Japanese Casinos
Many have warned that building continues on Olympic buildings, so any casinos approved in 2017 and 2018 might not have time to be built. Neil Bluhm suggested he could build a casino in Osaka, which boasts the world’s single largest seaport, because of his long business ties in the city. He also suggested there are many impediments to building in Tokyo, while the leaders of Osaka have a can-do attitude.
As readers can see, Neil Bluhm is an opinionated man. He also does not mind going against the giants of the gambling industry. If Mass Gaming builds the Brockton casino, then it should find its niche in the state’s gaming industry.
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