It seemed that Massachusetts was trying to steer people away from Foxwoods when it passed it’s expanded gaming law in 2011, but now it just might be Foxwoods that Massachusetts gamblers flock to once again as the Connecticut casino giant entered the battle last week for a resort casino license in Greater Boston (Region A).
They will compete with proposals from Suffolk Downs in Revere/Eastie and Wynn Entertainment in Everett.
Foxwoods announced that it had partnered with Crossroads Massachusetts LLC – a proposal headed up by Colorado developer David Nunes and located in Milford. Though Milford is a long way from Revere, the state expanded gaming law includes that town in the Greater Boston region (Region A).
In a statement to the Journal, Foxwoods officials said they are the best known casino operator in Massachusetts.
“We are the leading casino brand in Massachusetts with a dominant market position and customer base in the state,” read the statement. “This ‘local knowledge’ comes with local management and staff. In effect, we are neighbors who have practical expertise gained from the development and on-going operation our own $3 billion world-class facility next door in Connecticut where we have contributed nearly $3.5 billion to state revenue over the past 20 years. The combination, we believe, offers regulators and area residents an accessible, reliable and regionally sensitive option.”
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) said they have not received any filings or information from Foxwoods as of yet, but that the casino company would need to speak with them soon.
“We do not yet have any official documentation from Foxwoods,” said MGC Spokesperson Elaine Driscoll. “They will need to have a discussion soon with MGC investigators to determine their qualifiers and then they will need to submit their (Phase I) applications.”
Nunes has floated his development plan – which sits on isolated, vacant land at the nexus of I-495 and Route 16 – several years back and was not taken too seriously as of late. However, he maintained that he was poised to go forward and surprised some observers by filing his Phase I application and paying his $400,000 licensing fee on Jan. 15th.
He also announced that he had brought in Warner Gaming as a partner, a company that will apparently continue as a partner in the project.
Ironically enough, Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard, CT, was the poster child that finally helped propel the expanded gaming law through the state legislature in 2011. Legislators and expanded gaming advocates argued continuously that millions upon millions of dollars were leaving the state for Connecticut each year. With that faucet about to be turned off for Foxwoods, it appears they have decided to stay in the game by crossing state lines.
“Foxwoods Resort Casino is excited about partnering with Crossroads Massachusetts LLC,” read the statement. “We think the pairing represents the foundation of a compelling case for a Boston area gaming license. Crossroads brings the Milford site, an excellent location for a gaming focused development; and Foxwoods brings unparalleled regional gaming experience.”
What about the other two?
Up until yesterday, two proposals to the Mass Gaming Commission (MGC) were still not any clearer nearly one month after being submitted on Jan. 15th.
Mass Gaming & Entertainment – headed up by Chicago gaming developer Neil Bluhm – and PPE Casino Resorts – headed by the Cordish Companies of Baltimore – had yet to tell the Commission what type of license they plan to seek.
On Tuesday, both entities told the Commission they would not seek a casino license, but rather a slots-only license. They did not say where their potential slots parlor would be located, but at least one of them has indicated they would be in the Boston area.
Up until Tuesday, both had been mum on the issue, even in inquiries from the Journal.
Both entities clarified their positions due to a deadline set by the MGC requiring them to tell which license they would be seeking. Applicants, however, do not have to identify a location for their development until much later in the process.