Casino License Could Have 5 Applicants

January 23, 2013
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There could be as many as five companies vying for a resort casino license in the Greater Boston (Region A) area following the deadline for companies to get in on gaming last Tuesday, Jan. 15th.

The Cordish Company of Baltimore told the Journal in a press release that they are not certain yet if they will pursue a casino license or a slots-only license. They also are not certain just where they will pursue any potential license – it could be Boston or it could be western Massachusetts.

Under the new gaming law, a company does not have to specify a site for development until applying for the Phase 2 portion of regulatory review.

The Cordish Company filed last Tuesday under the corporation PPE Casino Resorts MA, which is associated with the principal owners of Cordish. They also paid their $400,000 non-refundable licensing fee.

Managing Partner Joe Weinberg said Cordish is still evaluating several “excellent sites” within the state and deciding between the Category 1 and 2 licenses.

“We are very enthusiastic about the Massachusetts market and look forward to working with the State and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on our application,” said Weinberg in a release.

Cordish’s application came out of the clear blue sky for most who have followed the expanded gaming discussion, and its vagueness hasn’t helped in guessing where its sudden interest came from.

The Cordish Company does have one colorful connection with one prominent applicant, that of Suffolk Downs’ principal partner Richard Fields.

According to old media reports from 2005, Fields had a very public personal and legal battle with his former friend Donald Trump. Fields had apparently been the manager of Marla Maples – Trump’s ex-wife – at one time and the two got close. Then, they decided to partner in developing the Hard Rock American Indian (Seminole) casino in Hollywood, FL. When Trump backed out, Fields recruited the services of the Cordish Company – so it goes. Trump took offense when Fields and Cordish were successful in establishing the casino, filing a lawsuit in which both Fields and Trump made no bones about their deteriorating friendship.

It was Fields’ first casino development, and it came with Cordish – who, interestingly enough, replaced “The Don.”

Additionally, the Massachusetts Gaming and Entertainment corporation – controlled by Chicago gaming and real estate investor Neil Bluhm (Rush Street Gaming – has been equally as vague in its submission to the Mass Gaming Commission (MGC).

They also have not specified a type of license (casino or slot) or a region where they want to locate. However, officials from the company have indicated publicly that they have looked at sites in Boston for a potential casino or slot parlor.

A spokesperson from Rush Street Gaming did not respond to a request for comment from the Journal in time for this story.

Rush Street Gaming is one of the few companies in the mix of applicants that has experience developing urban casinos – having successfully put a casino in Philadelphia.

All told, last week’s barrage of applications – potentially five for Greater Boston – is a dramatic departure from where things were just a few months ago when it appeared that Suffolk Downs was the only game in town.

The five potential applicants for the Greater Boston resort casino license are PPE (no site), Mass Gaming and Entertainment (no site), Wynn MA Inc. (Everett), Suffolk Downs (Eastie/Revere) and Crossroads Massachusetts LLC (Milford).

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