A developer from Quincy has presented their plan for a new horse track to be hosted in Wareham, complimented by a hotel and an entertainment complex offering slot machines.
One of the top executives of Marina Bay and Quincy-based Granite Links golf club, Tom O’Connell, is set to host dual press conferences to reveal his concept today. The first press conference is set to be held in the morning at Granite Links, and the second one is scheduled for the afternoon in Wareham. The last few weeks have seen rumors about the project but talks have now been confirmed.
For the time being, many of the details for Wareham Park project remain unclear. According to an unnamed source familiar with the issue, the development operator which have been specially created for the project, Notos Group, plans to invest $300 million in the project.
New Horse Track Projects Do Not Emerge Very Often in Massachusetts
The project that is set to be hosted at a 275-acre parcel on Glen Charlie Road north of Route 25 is considered an ambitious one.
The first reason to consider the planned development an ambitious project is the fact that it involves a new racetrack, which is rarely seen nowadays. The industry has been facing certain difficulties, especially considering the fact that thoroughbred racing was brought to an end this summer at Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts. Nevertheless, the former operators of the track are trying their best to bring a new life to the industry on the other side of the state of Massachusetts, at the Great Barrington Fairgrounds.
On the other hand, competition is another aspect of the situation which should be considered in the light of the recently unveiled project for a brand new racetrack in the region. Currently, there is no casino in the Southeastern part of Massachusetts. The local regulatory body has so far managed to block the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s effort to build in Taunton, while the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe has been involved in a battle with town officials over a Martha’s Vineyard project.
However, a casino started operation in Twin River, Rhode Island in 2018, and there is another operating in Lincoln, Rhode Island. A slot parlor is also operational in Plainridge Park, which is not so far away from Wareham.
Three Sections for Casino Resort Licenses Formed by 2011 Law
Probably the most ambitious part of the project involves Beacon Hill. Developers would have to get the green light from the Legislature, while local lawmakers, on the other hand, have not been very much willing to open up the 2011 piece of legislation under which the current casino market of the state has been established.
The 2011 law divided the state into three sections regarding casino resort licenses – Region A, which included Greater Boston (Central Massachusetts), Region B, which included the Western part of the state, and Region C, which still remains under question. Last year, MGM opened their Springfield casino, and Wynn Resorts opened their Encore Boston Harbor Everett casino in June 2019. The harness-racing track of Plainridge Park was granted the fourth license allowing it to offer a smaller slots parlor.
An operating license for a casino resort requires from developers to make an investment of at least $500 million, which is an amount larger than the one which Notos Group plans to spend on their Wareham racetrack project. In that case, the company would have to get official approval from the local Legislature in order for them to be allowed to build a complex in the state’s Region C.
Notos Group proposal has come at a very appropriate time, on the other hand, as the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has been making plans to revive discussions regarding the Region C license in September. Reportedly, informational briefings have already been provided by the developer to Commission members.