A look at the current status of casino gambling proposals in Massachusetts one year into the state’s expanded gambling law.
Seven of the following companies have met formally with representatives of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, though none has to date submitted preliminary applications, which are due by Jan. 15. The Wampanoag tribe is pursuing a separate path toward a casino under a section of the law that gives exclusive rights in southeastern Massachusetts to a native American tribe that negotiates a casino compact with the state. This list does not include companies that have spoken publicly in the past about pursuing a casino license, or been reported to have interest, but have not yet engaged in ‘‘scope of licensing’’ discussions with commission.
Las Vegas-based Ameristar Casinos has proposed a $900 million resort casino, including 150,000 square feet of gambling space, a 500-room hotel, multiple restaurants and a spa, on the 41-acre site of a Westinghouse Electric plant near Interstate 291. The company intends to bid for the sole western Massachusetts casino license. Plans also call for a ramp from the highway. Of the three developers that have proposed casinos in Springfield, Ameristar is the only one that actually owns land in Springfield, having completed a $16 million purchase of the site in January. Ameristar has not yet paid the commission’s required $400,000 application fee.
MASSACHUSETTS GAMING & ENTERTAINMENT
Massachusetts Gaming & Entertainment LLC was established by Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming to pursue a casino development in the state, but its exact intentions remain a mystery. The company has not yet announced specific plans or indicated in what region of Massachusetts it hopes to bid for a license, except to say that it is exploring multiple locations. Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria said earlier this month that he had discussions with the company about a 40-acre industrial site near the Mystic River. The company has not yet paid the commission’s required $400,000 application fee.
Paradise, Nev.-based MGM Resorts International has proposed an $800 million resort casino and entertainment complex on a 10-acre site in downtown Springfield that sustained extensive damage in a June 2011 tornado. The plan calls for a 250-room hotel, 89,000 square feet of gambling space and 70,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space in the three-block area adjacent to Interstate 91. The company intends to bid for the sole western Massachusetts casino license. MGM originally set its sights on the small town of Brimfield but later abandoned those plans and turned its attention to Springfield. MGM has paid the commission’s required $400,000 application fee.
MOHEGAN SUN, PALMER
Uncasville, Ct.-based Mohegan Sun is seeking to develop a commercial resort casino on a 152-acre site close to a Massachusetts Turnpike interchange in the town of Palmer. The company has not released detailed plans, but it envisions a $600 million complex that, in addition to gaming space, would include a luxury hotel, restaurants, retail stores and meeting/entertainment space. Mohegan Sun could end up competing for the sole western Massachusetts casino license with one or more developers that emerge from an ongoing selection process in Springfield. Mohegan Sun has not yet paid the commission’s $400,000 application fee.
PENN NATIONAL GAMING
Wyomissing, Pa.-based Penn National Gaming, in partnership with Peter Pan Bus Lines chairman Peter Picknelly, has proposed a 300,000-square-foot casino and a 300- to 500-room hotel on 13.4 acres of land off Interstate 91 in Springfield’s North End. The company intends to bid for the sole western Massachusetts casino license. The gaming complex would include up to 3,500 slot machines and at least 100 poker and other table games. The plan calls for relocating the offices of The Republican newspaper to downtown Springfield and moving the Peter Pan bus terminal to Union Station. Penn National Gaming has not yet paid the commission’s required $400,000 application fee.
Plainridge, the state’s only harness race track, intends to bid for the one slots parlor license allowed under the state’s expanded gambling law. If successful, Plainridge plans to renovate and expand its existing facility, including the addition of more than 11,500 square feet of restaurant and bar space. The company says the so-called racino would employ more than 650 workers and generate $77 million in tax revenue. Plainridge has paid the commission’s required $400,000 application fee.Continued...