Four applicants are now on the short list of possible licensees for the last Massachusetts Casino, beginning with a prominent executive who ran casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas to a Brookline woman with little industry experience – and Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun are not included. I guess, Foxwoods is concentrating on it’s debt, while Mohegan Sun figure three strikes and it’s out – or at least not interested – of the expansion business for the time being. What a group! Do you notice any names missing? How about some of the top gambling industry names in America – Affinity Gaming, Boyd Gaming, Gold Strike, Pinnacle Gaming, Sands Corp? Could a mixture of saturation and already too many big names be too much to compete with? Between New York City to Bangor Maine, you will be able to find Resorts World (Gentry), Penn National, MGM, Wynn, Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun. Quite the line-up – that might scare any serious contenders away!
So, who wants that last license? It’s quite an array of applicants:
1) Brookline-based Seafan Trust Corp, run by Kathryn Wheaton, who says she wants to develop a casino called the Sun Moon Resort at a 500-acre location in the southeast. Wheaton, who says she’s Native American, said the project would focus on offering resort-level amenities and benefit Native Americans, but declined to elaborate more on the plans.
2) Somerset on the Move LLC is being headed up by David Hanlon, a former president of Harrah’s Atlantic City operations and the Rio hotel and casino in Las Vegas, according to Somerset Board of Selectmen Chairman Donald Setters. Has anyone been to the Rio in Vegas lately? Ever since Harrah’s, now Caesars Entertainment, bought the Rio and many other properties on the Vegas Strip, they have allowed those properties to fall in disarray and the company has fallen into debt beyond repair. I wonder if there is any connection?
3) KG Urban Enterprises, a New York-based real estate development firm that wants to build a casino on a former power plant on New Bedford’s waterfront. They have been interested in this region the longest.
4) Mass Gaming & Entertainment, an affiliate of the Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming, had initially sought a slot parlor license but ultimately dropped those plans. It’s not clear where in the southeast region the company would build a resort casino.
Any casino ultimately licensed by the state in the southeast region may also have to compete with an Indian tribe-run casino: the Mashpee Wampanoags are seeking a federal reservation in Taunton where they’d build a resort that does not require a state license.
Jan. 30 is the deadline to apply for Massachusetts’ final resort casino license. After that, we’ll see what sticks – or if there will even be a 4th casino at all.
That’s all for now.