Massachusetts gaming regulators have rejected a proposal to build a casino in the city of Brockton, removing a potential challenger to a tribal casino already under construction in the same region.
On Thursday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) voted 4-1 against the proposal by Rush Street Gaming subsidiary Mass Gaming & Entertainment to build a $677m casino on the Brockton Fairgrounds in the southeastern portion of the state.
The rejection was broadly telegraphed the day before, when MGC chairman Stephen Crosby publicly slammed the Mass Gaming proposal as a “great disappointment,” primarily because it lacked the necessary “wow factor.”
Crosby reiterated that view on Thursday, saying he’d have had a much harder decision had Mass Gaming presented a “knockout proposal and a great strategy to lift Brockton,” a city that suffers from high levels of poverty and unemployment. But Crosby ultimately determined that the Brockton proposal “does not meet the standards that are required to make the decision.”
Mass Gaming’s casino would have sat just 20 miles from the site of another casino being developed by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe in Taunton. The tribe broke ground on its $1b First Light Resort and Casino a couple weeks ago on a property that the federal government placed into trust on behalf of the tribe earlier this year.
Rush Street has filed a lawsuit protesting the awarding of that land, but in light of Thursday’s rebuff, it remains to be seen whether the company will continue to pursue the suit.
The terms of the tribe’s compact with the state left the MGC in a bit of compromised position regarding the Mass Gaming proposal, as the addition of a commercial casino so close to the tribal venue would have eliminated the tribe’s responsibility to pay 17% tax on its gross gaming revenue to the state.
Mass Gaming’s rejection leaves the state with four major gaming venues, all but one of which – Penn National Gaming’s Plainridge Park Casino – are still in development. In addition to the Taunton tribal casino, MGM Resorts’ $950m MGM Springfield is tipped to welcome its first guests in 2018 while Wynn Resorts’ $2b Wynn Boston Harbor won’t open until 2019.