The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is putting off its decision on awarding a third casino license in the state following news that the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe will soon present its own casino project.
Media outlet MassLive.com reported that MGC announced it will make a decision on “Region C”—as southeastern Massachusetts is called—by the end of April, weeks after the tribe presented plans for a Taunton casino, called “Project First Light.”
The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is scheduled to present its plans on March 15.
The state’s 2011 expanded gambling law allows the commission “to award up to three commercial casino licenses and a slots parlor,” but tribal casino is considered to be a “critical variable” in whether MGC makes an award in Region C, MGC chairman Stephen Crosby said, according to the report.
The commission already handed out two licenses in the state: one to MGM for an integrated resort in Springfield and another to Wynn Resorts for the much disputed casino in Everett. The state’s slots parlor license is held by the Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville. The commission has the option of not awarding a third casino license, thanks to the 2011 law language that allows for “up to” three casinos in the state.
“If we make the determination that there is a quality applicant, then we’ll decide on whether to make the award or not, taking into consideration all the variables, including tribal status,” Crosby said, according to MassLive.com.
MGM study concludes Connecticut’s third casino better suited away from Springfield
Meanwhile, casino operator MGM is urging the Connecticut Indian tribes to build their casino away from Springfield.
The Nevada-based casino giant’s new resort complex straddles Springfield’s Metro Center and South End neighborhoods, but Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resorts Casino are eyeing to build a facility near MGM’s $950-million project.
MGM, however, is fighting back. Recently, the operator commissioned a study by Oxford Economics, which concluded that a casino built away from Springfield “would generate $545 million more in total economic output” for Connecticut.
“Locating a casino in southwest Connecticut would generate far greater economic benefits than locating one in north central Connecticut because southwest Connecticut offers a much deeper market,” the global advisory firm said in its report quoted by The Day.