Massachusetts Gaming Commission Will Discuss Possible Brockton Casino Resort After MGM Springfield Opening

Posted on: July 28, 2018, 12:00h. 

Last updated on: July 27, 2018, 06:35h.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is prepared to revisit the idea of a third casino resort in the Bay State, but a decision will have to wait until September, after the opening of the MGM Springfield, regulators said in a commission meeting on Thursday.

Brockton Casino
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission said in 2016 that MG&E’s casino proposal for Brockton failed to think “broadly and creatively about creating an innovative and unique gaming establishment.” Now, MG&E hopes it might reconsider. (Image: MG&E)

The application comes from Massachusetts Gaming and Entertainment (MG&E), a company backed by Rush Street Gaming, which wants the MGC to reconsider a proposal for a development in Brockton that was rejected in 2016.

The MGC was unimpressed with the MG&E proposal, saying it was not a “destination casino” but a “convenience casino” and that it lacked creativity.

First Light Failed to Dawn

The regulator was also concerned that the $1 billion First Light Resort and Casino — proposed by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe for Taunton, less than 20 miles from the Brockton site — would eat into the MG&E casino’s revenues, harming future state taxes. As a Native American casino, the MGC had no powers to authorize or veto the First Light.

But since then, a federal court has ruled that the US Department of the Interior improperly granted the land in trust to the tribe on which the casino was to be built. The project has been discontinued and remains in doubt. MG&E is hoping this might prompt the MGC to reconsider.

In the 2011 ballot, Massachusetts residents authorized three Las Vegas-style resort casinos and one slots parlor in the state when they voted to legalize casinos gaming.

The slots parlor at Plainridge Park racing track was the first to open, back in 2015. Two resorts are scheduled to join the market soon — the MGM Springfield next month, and Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor sometime next year. But there has been no bidding for the third “Region C” resort license since MG&E’s failed 2016 proposal.

Brockton Casino ‘Lost Opportunity’

MG&E asked that the MGC keep it that way, requesting it reconsider its application before it reopens the bidding process to all-comers. The MGC said it had no recourse to do this but will discuss revisiting the whole process in September.

“The Commission has done nothing with regard to Region C licensing for over two years,” complained MG&E in its letter to the commission. “As a result, the Southeast region has lost the opportunity for thousands of jobs, and the Commonwealth has lost tens of millions of dollars in tax revenues.

“The delay has put Region C at a competitive disadvantage, and increased the likelihood that regional competitors will absorb Region C’s potential market share,” it added.

But Commissioner Enrique Zuniga said at the commission meeting that MG&E was “making it seem as though the only, or the most important, factor in their not being awarded the license was the status of the tribe.”

“There was indeed a lot of other factors that played into, ultimately, the 4-1 decision not to award the license. That is an important clarification for the record,” he said.