Yesterday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission rejected the calls to reconsider its previous refusal of a proposed Brockton-based casino. The move did not leave any clear path that could lead to approval for the final resort casino license.
A venture supported by the Chicago real estate tycoon Neil Bluhm, Mass Gaming and Entertainment, had been looking for a chance to reintroduce its $677-million casino project which if approved, would have been built at the Brockton Fairgrounds. Unfortunately for the developers, the Massachusetts gambling regulatory body rejected a second review of the plan, with the Chairwoman of the Commission, Cathy Judd-Stein, explaining that no sufficiently changed circumstances had been brought to her attention in order to approve a reconsideration of the proposal.
Still, Ms. Judd-Stein did not fully reject the possibility for a future bid but she explained that such may come as part of a wider search for a full-fledged casino in the area.
The decision of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission not to reconsider its previous rejection of the casino project was disappointing for the city of Brockton, which has been looking for ways to bring fresh revenue flows to the local economy. According to preliminary estimates provided by Mass Gaming and Entertainment, if established, the casino would create 1,800 permanent jobs and would bring millions in tax revenue to city coffers.
Brockton Casino Plan First Rejected by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in 2016
At the hearing, the Mayor of Brockton Moises M. Rodrigues urged the state’s gambling regulator to review the casino project once again, explaining that another rejection would be a severe injustice as it would leave the fourth-largest city in the state without significant opportunities and resources.
Representatives of Mass Gaming and Entertainment explained that restarting the bidding process could mean significant delay. After the regulator announced its decision not to reconsider its previous project denial, Joe Baerlein, a spokesman for the company, said that the company would wait to see what the next move of the Commission would be and shared hopes that the regulator would still give the project another chance.
Back in 2016, the Brockton casino project was rejected by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, after the regulator cited concerns about the project’s design and close proximity to another casino project, which was unveiled by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe that has been pushing for permission to build a casino in Taunton. At the time, the American tribal nation had just started the construction on its tribal casino which would not require official approval from the state’s competent authorities. Since then, however, the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe has faced some legal and regulatory hurdles, which have ended up with the project being put on hold for an unknown period.
Casino gambling was made legal in the state of Massachusetts in 2011. The step allowed full-service casino venues to be operated in the eastern, western and the southeast part of the state. The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s attempt to build a casino in Taunton became an issue in the state’s legislature. The House finally gave it permission, but the project is facing some serious difficulties to get final passage.
For the time being, the casino sectors in the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island have been reporting some disappointing revenue results. MGM Springfield, the first resort casino, has been underperforming so far, and the early figures provided for Encore Boston Harbor which started operation in June 2019 also showed that the venue’s revenues fall short of expectations.