The battle is set. The decision will be final. The five-member Massachusetts Gaming Commission expects to award the license for the Boston Gaming Region by June 30.
About 63 percent of voters backed the casino in Tuesday’s referendum, topping the margin of victory in a November vote on an earlier casino proposal that would have straddled the Boston-Revere line that was rejected.
The Revere vote breaks a string of bad news for the casino industry, which suffered election losses in West Springfield, Palmer, East Boston, and Milford. The strong victory is in line with a trend among successful casino projects in Massachusetts: Wherever they have won, the margins have been healthy.
As Mohegan Sun & Foxwoods, the two Connecticut casinos, continue to have decline in revenue quarter after quarter, there is still apprehension that casinos losing money would still be able to be successful in Massachusetts. But, by the vote Tuesday night, it seems many are banking on Mohegan Sun’s success in Revere. “It’s a win-win situation for me,” said Russell, a union carpenter. “For the jobs, and then after the jobs I’m looking for a reduction hopefully in my water bill and my taxes.
“We’re going to win this license because our application to Massachusetts is unconditional,” said Mitchell Etess, chief executive of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. Mr. Etess was referring to the whining “Wynn” about Massachusetts condition in the casino agreements as well as limitations on jackpot taxes in the state of Massachusetts. Wynn, the other casino licensee for the same region, and who has seemed somewhat of a bully in the process, attacked Mohegan Sun last week for not having Revere’s interests at heart.
General opposition to casinos continue as well. Opposition, such as the Rev. George Szal of the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, saying “It’s a slayer of souls……..It’s a slayer of families and ultimately of the community itself.” Could this impression of casino expansion in the United States be antiquated? Could it be that the memories of blight in Atlantic City for example, are some of the memories that opposition holds on to, trying to scare their flock. We have seen recent trends in the past ten years of Casino businesses helping to lift communities out of bad economic times and lowering high rates of unemployment, for example in Bethlehem, PA.
But that is a topic for another day. Now we expect more interesting “repartee'” from Steve Wynn, more opposition in the legislature, and a battle over the three slot-only licenses – all happening in a Bay State near you.
That’s all for now.