The time has finally arrived in Massachusetts. After years of proposals, promises and occasional splashes of controversy, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is now prepared to award the state’s first casino license as soon as mid-June. The Commission expects to have a decision by June 13 following another round of meetings.
The Commission had a somewhat easy task in awarding the single license available for the Western region of the state, as there’s only one applicant: MGM Resorts International and its $800 million casino proposal in Springfield. But the commission hasn’t ruled out the possibility of not issuing a casino license at all.
MGM’s proposal has already received overwhelming support from residents of Springfield, including city and business leaders who see the casino project as an important economic jump-starter. But MGM has reason to be wary, as Commissioner James McHugh told the Boston Herald, “This is a major project for a major section of the city with major implications.” The Commission has invited MGM officials to make one final case for their proposal during the four-day deliberation preceding the decision.
Meanwhile, the casino license in Eastern Massachusetts is still very much up for grabs between Wynn Resorts and Mohegan Sun. But with Commission chairman Stephen Crosby having recused himself from the voting because of partiality concerns, the scenario of a tie vote among the four gambling commissioners remains a possibility.
Commissioner McHugh doesn’t believe a tie vote is likely, but should it happen, a contingency plan would let the applicants improve their proposals until one commissioner is convinced to switch his pick. ItbecameSurvivor—Western Massachusetts out there. Where’s Jeff Probst when you need him?