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Massachusetts has three casinos that offer Vegas Style gambling. Four gambling properties were part of the approved Expanded Gaming Act in 2011. They included three Resort Casinos and one slot parlor. Unfortunately, region C, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s reference to southeastern Massachusetts, never got its resort casino. As a result, there is No Region C Casino in Massachusetts.
The Failed Options in Region C
The original expectation was a Tribal Casino in Taunton. However, in 2016, the commission rejected a commercial casino proposal in Brockton. At the time, a Mashpee Wampanoag tribal casino in Taunton was likely. Since the Gaming Commission rejected a commercial casino proposal in Brockton in 2016, essential facts still linger.
- A developer would need a minimum of $500 million for the
- The casino faces saturation in Massachusetts
- Stiff competition remains from the three gaming facilities already open
- Nearby casinos in Connecticut and especially Rhode Island pose a competitive threat.
To read about the many other New England proposals, read:
What Happened To “First Light?”
A once stunning project to be the third resort casino was the Wampanoags First Light. The Mashpee tribe gained federal recognition in 2007 and, in 2015, received approval for land to be taken into trust for a casino. Construction on the casino began in 2016. Later that year, however, a court overturned the land-into-trust approval, and work on the project was suspended, leaving the project with no existing plans to proceed.
Recently, the FBI arrested Cedric Cromwell, chair of the tribe, possibly the final nail in the First Light Resort coffin. The claims reported that he used his position to enrich himself and engaged in a bribery conspiracy with casino developers. As a result, the First Light Project will most likely never see the light of day.
Is Region C Still a Consideration For a New Casino?
In July 2020, Rep. Carol Doherty, a Taunton Democrat, co-sponsored a bill that inferred two questions. It required the MGC to evaluate region C and the surrounding areas’ economic conditions. First, would the region sustain a resort casino, and second, would it value the region before 2024? In early 2020, the MGC sought answers about the market potential. The pandemic upended the commission’s plans to review the feedback it received
There is speculation that a casino in this region is not viable due to oversaturation of the market because the region is located in close proximity to Rhode Island, which has its own casinos, and because of the newly-opened Encore casino. The uncertainty around the status of the tribal casino in Taunton adds to the complexity of a Region C license as well.Rep. Carol Doherty
After dragging their feet on this matter, the pandemic should solidify the notion that Region C is a viable area at this time, or in the future, for a successful new casino. The Mashpee Wampanoags find themselves in dire straits financially and need to find leadership for the tribe. Relying on a casino in Taunton will not be the answer.
Finally, all New England Casinos found conditions during the pandemic nearly impossible. Massachusetts has it worst of all due to many state limitations added to all three casinos. Every casino in New England is in a revenue spiral that may take years to reverse. Expanding in Region C is the MGC’s slightest worry at this time.
Related Post – Pride and Prejudice of New England Tribal Gaming