The Massachusetts casino battle isn’t over quite yet. Sure, the Wynn pulled out a contentious win in the Greater Boston area, while MGM was happy to emerge with a casino in Springfield after their competition wilted.
But there’s still the matter of a casino in the southeast region of the state, one that could be hotly contested as the process moves along this year.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission announced that five groups have submitted applications or requests for extensions in relation to the southeastern region’s casino license.
KG Urban Enterprises, a group operating out of New York, was the first to submit an application. On Friday, the gaming commission announced that Mass Gaming & Entertainment has also met the deadline for submission.
Three other companies, including Somerset on the Move, Crossroads Massachusetts and the Seafan Trust, have all made application extension requests.
Fees, Applications Were Due Friday
All applicants were expected to meet last Friday’s deadline, before which they had to reveal financial information on their major investors and executives as well as submit a non-refundable $400,000 fee.
However, only three of the potential applicants (Mass Gaming, KG Urban and Crossroads) have actually submitted that fee.
The southeastern region of Massachusetts may be a difficult place to launch a new casino.
There’s competition from the Twin River Casino in Rhode Island, and a local Native American tribe, the Mashpee Wampanoags, hopes to be able to build a casino on a federal reservation.
All of this is taking place against the background of a region of the state that has a relatively weak economy, further dampening the prospects for a major resort there.
Five Groups Want Applications Considered
That may be why few of the biggest players in the casino industry aren’t aiming for the license.
However, that doesn’t mean that the five suitors who are going after the final opportunity to build a resort in Massachusetts don’t have big plans for the region.
KG Urban has long been connected with the region, and says that they would like to place a casino on the waterfront in New Bedford. Somerset on the Move, led by former Harrah’s Atlantic City president David Hanlon, has the support of (as the name would suggest) Somerset town officials for a project near Interstate 195.
Seafan, which is based out of Brookline, has said they’re willing to spend $4 billion on their project, though they haven’t said where it would be located.
Perhaps the biggest name remaining in contention is Foxwoods, one of the two Native American casinos in Connecticut.
They’re a partner in Crossroads Massachusetts, and last year announced that they would like to find a way to bring a casino to the southeastern town of Fall River.
Finally, there’s the bid from Mass Gaming, which already operates the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia and the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh.
The group already failed in their bid to obtain the slots parlor license in Massachusetts (which ultimately went to Penn National Gaming), and may now be aiming at placing a casino at the Brockton Fairgrounds, though the company has declined to confirm any details of their application.
All five groups have been invited to address the state gaming commission at a meeting on February 5.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has projected that the southeastern casino license will be awarded in Fall 2015.