The list of casino casualties in Massachusetts continues to grow by the day. Suffolk Downs and Mohegan Sun saw their proposals get rejected by city voters and now, Foxwoods is joining in on the misery after voters in Milford emphatically rejected the casino’s proposal to build a $1 billion resort casino in its jurisdiction.
The final vote wasn’t even close. According to the Milford clerk’s office, 6,361 votes were cast against the proposal with 3,480 votes cast for it. It didn’t exactly go down-to-the-wire, something Fooxwoods CEO Scott Butera begrudgingly conceded not long after the polls closed in the referendum.
Apparently, residents of the town made their point loud and clear: no casinos are going to be built in our neighborhood. John Seaver, co-chair of the anti-casino group Casino-Free Milford, said as much, telling reporters that “our town wasn’t for sale”.
‘‘They wanted to come in and call the shots, and they almost did,” Seaver added. “But the people rose up, pushed back and overwhelmingly said this town is not for sale.’’
Traffic jams, reduced property values, and increased crime were all legitimate concerns for residents of Milford and no amount of promises, including more jobs and $30 million in added revenue annually, dissuaded voters from putting its feet down and rejecting Foxwoods’ proposal.
At least the company can wallow in misery with Suffolk Downs and Mohegan Sun. The former still has a chance to get its proposal off the ground in Revere, but the feeling of getting shot down by city voters is something all three companies can now relate to, even if the perception of these casinos, Butera explains, was a little misplaced.
‘‘I think people are afraid of the unknown,” the Foxwoods chief said. “There’s a lot of myths about what casinos are. They are not these crazy hedonistic places. They’re actually very nice resorts that have a lot more to do with just games.’’
But none of that matters now that a decision has been made, further whittling down the already thinning field of operators that are still in the running for what’s turning out to be incredibly elusive casino licenses.
Wynn Resorts still has a shot after voters in Everett approved its proposal but it’s gotten little to no love from state regulators, further complicating its own shot at securing one of the casino licenses. MGM Resorts is also in the running for one of the licenses, too.
But while these two operators still have a chance of getting licenses, the rest of the field is falling by the wayside, one rejected proposal after another.