The Boston Globe has uncovered public records showing that Mohegan Sun’s so-called marketing agreement with the state, in the event it winds up with a license to build a Suffolk Downs gambling resort in Revere, would allow it to promote its Connecticut casino to Greater Boston residents.
Mohegan Sun has said it would not try to lure Greater Boston residents to Connecticut, where the tax rates on gaming institutions are lower, if it had a casino up here. For Massachusetts, seeing people leave the state to gamble defeats the very purpose of establishing casinos here in the first place. The agreement says Greater Boston residents can indeed receive promotional materials offering perks to come to the Connecticut resort, so long as similar perks are offered for the Revere casino.
The finding probably isn’t all that egregious, considering most people would probably prefer to gamble closer to home...or, if their preference is to get away for a few days, they probably would anyway. But if promotions between the two spots must be more or less equal, you probably won’t lose all that many people or their dollars over state lines in the end.
But especially with that in mind, one line of Mohegan Sun’s defense is sort of funny. Talking to the Globe, Mohegan Sun CEO Mitchell Etess pointed at rival casino bidder Wynn Resorts, which seeks to build in Everett:
Etess added that Wynn has suggested Massachusetts could help feed Wynn’s Las Vegas casinos, should Wynn earn the license. The top Nevada tax rate on gambling revenue is 6.75 percent, according to the American Gaming Association.
“We are the only applicant that provides any protection whatsoever in how we’re going to market to the Commonwealth,” Etess said.
In other words: “The other guys could do it too!” No mention from Etess, of course, about the difference in travel from Boston to Connecticut and Boston to Las Vegas. (Mohegan’s best line of defense against pretty much anything at this point, regardless of its relevance, is probably to remind everybody that Wynn has managed to irk most of Everett’s neighboring towns by low-balling them on mitigation agreements.)
One of the two bidders will be awarded the sole Boston-area casino license, soon. The state’s gaming board will discuss the two rival bids throughout next week.