Here’s the June Update in the Quest for Massachusetts Gaming
Newton College Prepares for First Mass Casino Courses
This fall, Lasell College in Newton will offer a four-year Bachelor of Science in resort and casino management — the first of its kind in the state. According to a Lasell press release, the college will introduce a major in Resort and Casino Management this fall, making it the first in the Commonwealth to offer such a program.
“The Resort and Casino Management major will allow present and future students to study a field that is about to dramatically increase in Massachusetts,” said Jim Ostrow, vice president for academic affairs at Lasell, in a press release. “We believe that this additional major will attract student from within and beyond the region, as there are very few Bachelor’s degree programs in casino management in the U.S., and none currently in Massachusetts.”
Hard Rock Looks to help Local Restaurants
Restaurants on West Springfield’s busy Memorial Avenue have entered into a marketing deal with casino applicant Hard Rock Hotel & Casino New England and the Eastern States Exposition, which hopes to host the proposed Hard Rock in its sprawling fairgrounds.
“I think if Hard Rock is going to come here, it is best to work with them,” said Donald Calvanese, an owner of the Storrowton Tavern, which is also located on the Big E grounds. “Even without a casino, I think all the restaurants in West Springfield should work together. if I can’t accommodate someone who wants to eat, it’s better to send them to Lattitude or Memo’s. Someone local. That way the word gets out that there are a lot of great restaurants here in West Springfield.”
Calvanese said he was not pressured by the Big E, his landlord, to participate in the program. Restaurants Monte Carlo, Lattitude, Hofbrauhaus, Memo’s and the White Hut have joined with Storrowton. Hard Rock promises coordinated marketing and group sales, a dine-around card offering discounts to Hard Rock employees and a buy-local program where Hard Rock buys gift cards from local businesses for guests and employees. The casino is also promising to train its staff to refer visitors to outside restaurants.
Calvanese said he’s been talking with his customers, asking if they go to casinos and if so, do they always eat there or do they grab something to eat at a non-casino eatery nearby? “They keep telling me that sometimes they eat there, but often they eat nearby,” Calvanese said. “We are different. We are an old-style colonial New England restaurant. That should help us.”
Mass Gaming Commission Revises Deadlines
The Gaming Commission decided Thursday to give potential commercial casino developers in the southeastern region until the end of September to piece together their initial bids, opting against pushing the date up by one month out of concern that it could stifle competition.
Under the revised timetable outlined by commissioners, the awarding of a casino license in the southeast region would trail the other two gaming regions in the east and west by about seven months with a license awarded the last week in October 2014. The commission is already concerned that the competition in the region could be minimal.
Worcestor Slot Parlor Fizzles
Chicago casino and real estate tycoon Neil Bluhm is abandoning plans for a slot parlor in Worcester, after being unable to reach an agreement with local officials for the city to host the gambling business, Bluhm and the city announced Monday evening in a joint statement. The billionaire has not ruled out trying again to win a Massachusetts casino license in another community, Greg Carlin, chief executive of Bluhm’s company, Rush Street Gaming, said in an e-mail. Bluhm, who has opened three urban casinos in recent years in Pennsylvania and Illinois, could move his slot parlor proposal to another city or town, or pursue a resort casino license in Southeastern Massachusetts, a region that only recently opened to applications from commercial casino developers.
That’s all for now.