Mass. Gaming Commission weighs reopening casino license competition for third and final license

It could mean a new casino coming to southeastern Massachusetts.

Beach Plum flowers bloom along the banks of the Mystic River in front of the Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett, Mass., Friday, June 21, 2019.  The Wynn Resorts casino is scheduled to open to officially open to the public on Sunday, June 23rd.
Beach Plum flowers bloom along the banks of the Mystic River in front of the Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett, Mass., Friday, June 21, 2019. The Wynn Resorts casino is scheduled to open to officially open to the public on Sunday, June 23rd. –(Charles Krupa / AP)

BOSTON (AP) — Does Massachusetts need another casino?

State gambling regulators are seeking public comment on this question and others as they weigh whether to reopen the competition for the state’s third and final casino license, which is reserved for southeastern Massachusetts.

The state’s Gaming Commission posted the query on its website this week and is asking for responses by March 16. It’s also separately soliciting experts to answer specific questions about conducting a market analysis to examine the economic impacts of a new casino in the region.

Southeastern Massachusetts is already home to Plainridge Park, a slots parlor and harness racing track. Not far across the Rhode Island state line, Twin River operates two casinos.

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And the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe has proposed a nearly $1 billion resort in Taunton, Massachusetts while the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe is building a gambling hall on Martha’s Vineyard.

The last time the state considered applications for the southeastern region casino license, it only received one proposal: a $677 million casino at the Brockton Fairgrounds.

The gaming commission ultimately declined to award the license in 2016, citing the potential for a casino glut in the region.

But Mass Gaming and Entertainment, the company that proposed the Brockton casino, has continued to ask the state to re-consider that decision because the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s casino project remains mired in legal challenges.

Massachusetts currently has two large scale, resort casinos. MGM Springfield is near the Connecticut state line and Encore Boston Harbor is north of Boston in Everett.

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