The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has announced resignation of two of its members—Commissioner Jim McHugh and Executive Director Rick Day—who were described as key players in licensing and regulating an entirely new industry in Massachusetts.
“After careful consideration and discussion with Chairman Crosby, We have decided to conclude my full-time employment in my position as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. I will continue with the Commission in a consulting role for as long as my services are required,” said Day.
Day, who was appointed as MGC executive director in February 2013, will retire effective this week but will remain an MGC consultant. His future work for the MGC will likely be remote as he would be move back to his hometown in Montana.
“I am proud of the work accomplished over the last 2.5 years and pleased that the state is now experiencing the benefits of jobs and revenue currently being derived from the new gaming industry,” added Day. “Since joining the Commission as Executive Director, my number one priority has been to support the Commission in its efforts to prepare an efficient and effective regulatory structure in advance of the opening of Plainridge Park Casino.”
Meanwhile, McHugh will retire effective September 30 to ensure smooth transition to his successor.
“Three and a half years ago, I temporarily shelved my retirement when I was given the opportunity to join those other early optimists. As I said throughout the pre-appointment vetting, my objective was to participate in creating a first rate public agency to oversee this new and, in view of many, highly controversial Massachusetts industry,” said McHugh. “Together, we all have created that agency. It is now pressure tested and well positioned to take on the many tasks that remain. I hope you are as proud of that creation as I am.”
Massachusetts’ gaming industry has been making the headlines due to disagreements related to the development of the casino industry. The state was about to have its gambling sector fully developed by 2016 but according to the latest information, this will not happen before 2018.
When Penn National Gaming’s Plainridge Park opened last month, it was considered a first, modest step on the road to a multibillion-dollar industry but the completion of MGM Resorts’ Springfield casino project is to be postponed due to the construction of a massive highway in the vicinity. Wynn Resorts’ Everett casino project faced a legal hurdle, which came with a hefty price. The MGC and three cities involved in the legal fight – Boston, Revere and Somerville – have already spent more than $1.4m combined since the first complaints were filed in October. The next hearing is set at the end of September.
As for the casino industry in the southern part of the state, the project remains in limbo as New York-based developer KG Urban Enterprises abruptly backed out of the competition due to its inability to secure financing for the projected $650 million project, leaving only Mass Gaming & Entertainment’s $650 million proposal for the Brockton Fairgrounds or the MGC can opt not to issue the fourth casino license at all.