Construction, lawsuits and more hearings—in short, busy days ahead for casinos in the Old Colony State.
MGM Springfield is reducing the size of its 25-story hotel tower to just six-story as it moves to a new location. MassLive reported the casino operator had already abandoned the glass-façade design for the 25-story tower, but the new hotel design will still have 250 rooms crammed in six floors.
Michael Mathis, president and CEO of MGM Springfield, sent a letter to Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, explaining that the project will not reduce the $800 million cost of the project and could result in an increase in cost, according to the media outlet.
The new hotel site was originally for market-rate apartments, but the housing will be moved outside the casino footprint, MGM said.
MGM Resorts is already delaying the opening of its Springfield casino. The gambling facility, originally slated to open in the fall of 2017, will now be completed in 2018 due to the delay in the Interstate 91 viaduct’s rehabilitation. The casino operator said the reconstruction project will close important lanes and exits near the $800-million casino complex.
Early win for Wynn’s Everett casino?
Meanwhile, Wynn Resorts executives are preparing to pop the champagne following reports that Boston’s lawsuit against the casino operator is this-close to being dismissed.
According to Boston Globe, Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders is strongly considering dismissing the lawsuit filed by the City of Boston that challenges the validity of a license awarded to Wynn Resorts for the Everett casino, saying she’s not sure a judge “should wade into” such matters.
The judge told the court on Tuesday that courts normally defer to administrative agencies like the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) in their decision making, noting that the commission had already considered many of the “very complicated” issues in the lawsuit “over several years,” which is far more time that what she has before handing down her ruling.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh filed the lawsuit in January, saying his city has the right to vote on the project as a host community since people will have to pass through Boston to reach the planned Everett casino. The commission already shot down the city’s argument in May 2013.
Sanders, however, suggested the dispute was a “matter of geography,” which could be resolved by simply looking at the map.
License for third casino in SE Massachusetts up to MGC
Gov. Charlie Baker is also leaving the decision of granting license to a third casino in southeastern Massachusetts in the hands of MGC.
Baker, who has been vocal in the past that he only wants a single resort casino in the state, is now shying away from commenting on the issue.
“All the regulatory decisions are going to be made, as they should be, by the Gaming Commission, which was designed not to have direct oversight from anybody,” the governor said, according to MassLive.
But Baker said that ultimately, it will be the market that will decide “what works and what doesn’t” in southeastern Massachusetts.
MGC has already started the licensing process for a $650 million casino in Brockton. If awarded, Brockton will be the second location to have a casino in that part of the state, in addition to the casinos already licensed in Everett and Springfield and the slots parlor already open in Plainville.