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Gaming Commission Refuses to Re-examine Brockton Casino Proposal

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted 3-1 and declined to reconsider its 2016’s denial of the Brockton casino proposal made by Mass Gaming and Entertainment which is an enterprise backed by the Chicago real estate magnate Neil Bluhm.

In 2016, a 4-1 decision led to the rejection of the Brockton casino application because of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s plans to bring a resort casino to Taunton. The commission cited financial concerns regarding two casinos operating within about 20 miles of each other in southeastern Massachusetts.

In the re-appeal, the Chicago-based Rush Street casino’s subsidiary unit, Mass Gaming and Entertainment, stated that their $677 million casino project sponsors were all ready to pay the $96 million license fee and would be creating 2,000 construction jobs and 1,800 permanent jobs. If allowed, the casino would contribute a minimum of $70 million in tax revenue to the state and $13 million to Brockton every year. So, the project would be quite beneficial for job creation in the region struggling to create employment.

They appealed for reconsideration via a letter. “Despite the setback of the commission’s April 2016 vote, Rush Street and MG&E remain interested in pursuing a casino and hotel development in Brockton,” said representatives for the companies, in the letter.

The commission confirmed receiving the letter from Rush Street and Mass Gaming which had requested a reconsideration without re-opening the application process more broadly.

We respectfully request that you agree to hold a public hearing regarding the short and long-term best interest of Southeastern Massachusetts, and also agree to reconsider MG&E’s application without re-opening the (application hearing process) more broadly,

the letter stated.

The gaming commission reviewed the appeal and stated that they were legally authorized to reconsider past proposals, but the reasons provided by Mass Gaming & Entertainment were insufficient for a reconsideration.

Cathy Judd-Stein, the commission chairwoman, stated that she had not seen “sufficiently changed circumstances to warrant a motion for reconsideration at this time.”

Several members of the commission also argued that such reconsideration would not be fair to other interested business groups who may want to apply for a Region C casino license. 

At the trial, Moises M. Rodrigues, the Mayor of Brockton urged the commission to consider the casino plan again and announced that a rejection would be “a severe miscarriage of justice when it comes to providing the fourth-largest city in Massachusetts with resources and opportunities. That’s all we’re asking for.”

He added:

We from the southeastern part of the state feel that Massachusetts ends around [Route] 128 and the rest of us are left with crumbs, we get crumbs, and we don’t have the ability to do much for ourselves because we often feel the state doesn’t do much to help us out. Any time an opportunity shows up or presents itself, for some odd reason the upper part of the state gets it, the western part of the state gets it, Boston gets it, and we are left with absolutely nothing.

Neil Bluhm, the chairman of MG&E, announced that he had spent millions of dollars on research-development and planning in hopes of establishing a casino at the Brockton Fairgrounds. But a denial of reconsideration of his request would be effectively terminating his interest in competing for a Massachusetts casino license.

To vote that you are not going to reopen this under any circumstance, I don’t know how I can continue to hang in here on behalf of Brockton. I’ve spent millions of dollars. To deny this request, I think you lose me. I can’t hang around. I’ve been doing this for more than five years. I don’t know how long you expect us to hang around for Brockton,

Bluhm said.

Representatives of MG&E reported to the commission that restarting the bidding could mean years of delay. One of the representatives declared that the company would observe the commission’s next moves quickly to give the project another chance before determining the outcome of the project.

David Bright

David Bright joined Times of Casino as a news writer focused on the casino industry. He holds a bachelor degree in Economics and Accounting and currently contributing in-depth news articles. David writes on the casinos, gambling legislation, poker, and much more.

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