Massachusetts holding fire until 2014; MGM promising Cirque du Toronto; Florida to undertake study on gambling

TAGs: florida, Massachusetts, MGM Resorts, Toronto

casino newsMassachusetts’ first casino licence won’t be handed out until early 2014 after the state’s gaming board took heed of a number of factors outlined by an independent consultant. The first licence will be given to one lucky, or even Krafty, bidder in February 2014 and it comes after the Massachusetts Gaming Commission consultant examined how long various background checks will take. Chair of the Commission is Stephen Crosby and he described the schedule as “prudent” and added that they “could possibly get it done two or three months earlier if everything went like clockwork”.

Massachusetts agreed to allow three full casino resorts and one slot machine-only venue after passing a bill last November. Those that have already paid the $400k licence fee include a consortium involving Suffolk Downs and Caesars Entertainment Corp, and MGM Resorts International, who are both applying for full casino licences. Plainridge Racecourse, meanwhile, remains the only party to apply for the slots parlor licence. There are reportedly four more casino plans in the offing with Penn National Gaming and Ameristar Casinos among those believed to be looking at a bid.

Toronto is having a rather significant cherry dangled in front of their head as a reward if they choose MGM Resorts International to operate a casino in the city. The casino and entertainment giant is preparing to give the Canadian city a permanent Cirque du Soleil, should the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. licence their “intergrated resort”.

Alan Feldman, MGM’s senior VP of public affairs, told the Toronto Star: “Our colleagues at Cirque would love to have a permanent home in Toronto. They see, as we do, this incredible cosmopolitan global destination, one that would work very well for them.”

Before they get to this stage the city council must first pass a bill allow a casino to be built in the city and only then can they start recruiting circus acts for the venue, which MGM hopes will be at Exhibition Place. The resort would cost upwards of $3billion and include everything you’ve come to expect from an integrated resort – and 8,000 jobs for the city.

Legislative leaders in Florida are set to devise a new gambling policy in order to cover a whole plethora of options. Sun Sentinel reports that Senator Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) and future House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) will undertake a two-year study into the industry that will start next spring. It will look at whether to continue a $1 billion revenue sharing partnership with the Seminole Tribe, regulate small internet cafes and small gambling venues, and finally whether to allow more “racinos” and if full-blown resorts should be permitted. Both men, whilst not “pro gambling”, have “agreed to agree” on developing a policy. “We don’t have a rational gaming policy, but we do have plenty of gambling going on in Florida,” Gaetz added.


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