Mass Gaming & Entertainment parent company Rush Street Gaming has threatened to withdraw its support for the Brockton casino project unless the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) takes swift action on the proposal.
Rush Street Gaming Chairman Neil Bluhm, who pledged to spend up to $200m on the $650m Brockton project, has expressed concerns that the MGC may be purposefully delaying its decision on whether it would grant Mass Gaming and Entertainment the sole Southeastern Massachusetts casino license. Mr. Bluhm suggested that commissioners would probably like to wait for the pending resolution on the legal status of a casino proposal from the state’s federally recognized Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Tribe.
“I’ve got other things to do,” said Neil Bluhm, who along with local partner George Carney is proposing a sprawling casino and hotel complex on the Brockton fairgrounds near Route 123. “Do I want to be here? Yes. I’m not giving an ultimatum, but I’m not going to sit here waiting forever.”
The tribe has applied to take into trust 150 acres of land in Taunton. If granted the land, it would be able to commence work on its proposed gambling venue. However, Bluhm argued that if the Bureau of Indian Affairs rules in favor of the tribe, the decision will most certainly be appealed. This, in turn, may launch a years-long legal battle and the investor indicated that he could not wait that long.
“The Mashpee face a long legal road,” said Bluhm. “I don’t want to spent [sic] the time, effort, or money waiting around.”
“I’m not saying, ‘Pick our proposal,’ but I am saying, ‘Consider our proposal, see if it qualifies for a license and if it is in the best interest of the Commonwealth, then make a decision, even while the tribe’s case remains unresolved,’” Bluhm added.
The MGC decided to open a comment period on whether commissioners should make a swift decision on the proposed Brockton casino. Comments could be submitted up until September 18 but MGC spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll noted on Wednesday that a public meeting is likely to take place on September 24.
During last week’s MGC meeting, Chairman Stephen Crosby questioned whether Mass Gaming & Entertainment was having trouble financing its proposal, as was the case with the proposal for the New Bedford casino.
Bluhm said that financing is secure for his casino proposal with a remark that Brockton is a much better site for a casino than New Bedford, being closer to millions of potential customers around Boston.
If approved, the Brockton casino is expected to generate annual revenue of $400 million. Bluhm remains unfazed by competition from Wynn Resorts and Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, should the latter eventually get the nod to open a casino in Taunton. Bluhm still expects Mass Gaming and Entertainment’s property to make no less than $330 million per year.
“Theirs will be a nice place, but for some it won’t be as convenient as us,” Bluhm said. “But we are not going to kill Steve Wynn. He’s going to do fine.”