Massachusetts Casino Region C – “To Be or Not To Be,” That IS the Question

Massachusetts Regions for full casinos.

Massachusetts Regions for full casinos. Doesn’t include Mashpee Wampanoags in Taunton or Plainridge Park Slot Parlor in Plainville.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has its hands full, it seems.

Steve Crosby, Chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission

Steve Crosby, Chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission

MGC Chairman Steve Crosby seems to thing all plans have a chance to work itself out.  The problem is, many others are doubting it will all come to fruition.  In a previous post 5 Reasons New England Gamblers Will Decide Where the Casino Money Goes, John Kostrzewa points to important considerations in New England’s Casino future – something Mr. Crosby and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission should read.

Let’s look at their original plan:

Plainridge Park Casino

Plainridge Park Casino

SLOTS ONLY LICENSE – Plainridge Park Casino gets the revenue stream started, keeping Mass gamblers in state and luring way Rhode Island gamblers.  So far, it has been very successful while seeing a decline each month after its opening.

Wynn Everett Resort Everett, Mass

Wynn Everett Resort Everett, Mass

 

 

REGION A LICENSE – Wynn is hand picked after sending home Caesars, then allowing the glitz of Vegas to dismiss Mohegan Sun.

Wynn is now starting the clean-up of the old Monsanto waste site, in litigation with numerous parties, and considering changes to its proposal as this is posted.

MGM Springfield

New rendering of MGM Springfield’s

REGION B LICENSE – MGM Resorts is chosen in Springfield, only to have unapproved changes made, and delays estimated to put off the opening for three years.  Connecticut continues to pressure the MGM project with a third Casino of its own in a joint effort from Mohegan Sun & Foxwoods – somewhere withing the vicinity of 30 miles from Springfield.

Proposed Brockton Casino

Proposed Brockton Casino

REGION C LICENSE – Only Brockton remains, but hasn’t been given the license because of the rebirth of the Wampanoags Taunton project.  The MGC is taking a wait and see path, as Twin River bulks up with additional tables, added poker room, a hotel, and possibly moving Newport Grand to Tiverton – across the border from Plainridge Park in Plainville.

How is this all panning out?  Originally, four Mass. casinos would be looting & pillaging CT & RI casinos by 2017.  But it’s not looking like the plan is on track.

The main concern at this time for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is should a Region C license be awarded at all.  According to MGC Chair Steve Crosby, “They can coexist……They would cannibalize one another. Neither one of them would do as well.”

But the main concern here isn’t casinos, community involvement, traffic, or lawsuits.  It’s cash, moolah, the almighty buck.

The expansive Mashpee Wampanoag  Casino Proposal in Brockton, Mass.

The expansive Mashpee Wampanoag Casino Proposal in Brockton, Mass.

Under the compact between the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and Massachusetts, the state would collect 17% of the tribal casino’s gaming revenues, compared with 25% of revenues from the commercial casino. However, the tribal casino would not be required to pay taxes if a commercial casino were to open in the same region. Which would mean the same number of gamblers, but half the revenue to the state. Would the MGC deny Rush Gaming a chance in Brockton because the Mashpee Wampanoags project looks more likely to happen than three months ago? Is one large Tribal casino better than two casinos – tribal and commercial – co-existing?

Remember, the Massachusetts  Casino Law in 2011 didn’t become law because the Massachusetts legislature thought adding the devil of gambling to its list of tourist attractions, it was the greedy devil from within to get their Bay State money back that had been spent by Massachusetts patrons for years in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Spock in "Amok Time" - Star Trek.

Spock in “Amok Time” – Star Trek.

I guess it’s not that easy to build a casino and hear the stream of money drop into Massachusetts coffers.  Dear Mr. Crosby, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Or,  as Spock said in Star Trek, season 2, episode 1 (“Amok Time,” 1968) , ““After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but is often true.”

That’s all for now.

Binbin

 

Massachusetts More Worried, Not Mohegan Sun, About New England’s Casino Share

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Casino Industry Worried?

After chatting with friends and colleagues recently in Las Vegas concerning their thoughts on Massachusetts’ Gaming Expansion, it seemed to be unanimous – Massachusetts is doing it their way, but not necessarily the best way.  They are running a little scared lately, but are too stubborn to show it. It includes badgering Steve Wynn, making Rush Gaming Developers wait for a Region C decision, and letting MGM

MGM Springfield

New rendering of MGM Springfield’s cut down proposal.

change this and that without approval. It seems the Bay State’s opinion of Mohegan Sun Resorts follows the same narrow-minded spin.

Bruce Mohl, from Commonwealth Magazine, recently reported in his article “Casino Border Wars” that Mohegan Sun as an underachiever not good enough for Massachusetts.  With the history Mass casinos so far, they would have been so lucky to have Mohegan Sun part of that gambling Plan.

His reasons for such a poor opinion of the Mohegan Tribe’s casinos?  Well, let’s take a look:

  1. A key reason for the casino’s success was the large number of customers pouring over the border from Massachusetts. That’s True. But let’s include Maine, NH, Vermont, Rhode Island, NY, and NJ (which took a bite out of Atlantic City).  It’s because both Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun are “Destinations,” unlike Plainridge Park Casino (a box of slots – MGM’s own description) and the proposal in Brockton which represents a mid-level locals casino in Nevada.
  2. Not welcome in Palmer.
    Mohegan Palmer Casino

    Mohegan Sun’s rendition of Mohegan Palmer Casino

    Palmer Mohegan Sun applied for the Region A (Western) license of 150 acres of land purchased in Palmer – land that was waste-free (Everett) and didn’t entail bulldozing blocks of historical buildings (MGM in Springfield) and was closer to the newest threat to western Massachusetts. The bid was rejected by 94 votes out of over 5200. Why? It would “destroy the rural character of a town.” So, instead, they mirror the state’s poverty level of 11% and added a Motor Speedway.  Go figure.

  3. Not Welcome in Revere. Mohegan Sun joined forces with Suffolk Downs in Revere in a bid to win the eastern Massachusetts casino license, however, Wynn Resorts was chosen to build a casino in Everett. Wynn was great in winning over the Gaming Commission, by criticizing the Revere proposal as Mohegan Sun’s pursuit was “to protect its flagship casino in Connecticut.”
    mohegan-sun-revere-casino-rendering-7414f532fa69586d

    Rendition of Mohegan Sun at Suffolk Downs in Revere

    The MGC believed it, even though the Mohegan Tribe has made Resorts Casino in AC a winner and it’s Mohegan Sun Pocono in Pennsylvania continues to be a success.

  4. Protecting It’s Own Casino Interests. Mr. Mohl and the rest of Massachusetts thinks it’s awful that Mohegan would expand to other areas to protect its assets. But, he just doesn’t get it.  MGM & Wynn expanded outside of Las Vegas, and they did it to expand their brand. MGM is looking at Georgia for an additional site, and both are in China. Expanding their brand.  Penn National expanded to Plainville after already owning Hollywood Hotel Casino in Bangor, Maine.  They now own two New England casinos, yet nothing was said about Plainridge Park protecting it’s Hollywood Casino.  The Mohegan Tribe, much like Penn, MGM, Wynn, Caesars’, etc have the right to expand.  If you’re successful in the casino industry, that’s what you do.

Mohl’s bottom line, and I quote, “What all this maneuvering tells you is that Mohegan Sun — and the state of Connecticut — are very worried about the impact of Massachusetts casinos on the casino businesses in Connecticut and willing to do just about anything to blunt their impact.”

If something doesn’t scare you, or threaten you, ignore it? But if it is a concern, pay a lot of attention to it – and that’s just what Massachusetts is doing.  CT knows that more casinos in New England will impact their two large destination casinos, so they are doing something about it.  But Massachusetts continues to look south to CT and south-east to Rhode Island as both states make plans to battle or New England’s gamblers.

Rendition Wampanoag Casino in Taunton

Rendition Wampanoag Casino in Taunton

Plainridge Park Casino

Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is the state most worried about it’s share of the pie.  MGM wouldn’t be trying to stall CT’s third casino and the MGC wouldn’t be considering no Region C license due to the Wampanoag’s casino proposal gaining momentum if they weren’t. Plainridge Park has seen two straight months of decline – a sudden concern – and Twin River & the CT casinos have seen positive revenue in recent months.  MGM says it’s not worried, but continues to cut back its approved proposal in Springfield, and both MGM & Wynn won’t be making money for the Bay State until late 2018.

So who’s doing the most maneuvering and who is the most worried?

I say Massachusetts.

That’s all for now.

 

Binbin

 

New Bedford Casino Developers Saw the Area’s Future & Pulled Away

No Casino Here - Ever!

No Casino Here – Ever!

In a surprising change in the Massachusetts Gaming Expansion, the New Bedford waterside casino complex is no more.  The developers have forced KG Urban to take their application off the table, and the southeast license, Region C, now only has one suitor in Brockton.

What happened?

Well, duh, you see, it takes financial backing to build a casino, and when your financial backers pull out, there is no casino to be built.  Simple, right?

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What it was supposed to look like.

In its letter to the state Gaming Commission, KG Urban, said investors proved unconvinced the venture would work in an increasingly competitive environment. Let me put this in layman’s terms – New England’s casino market is saturated and being hyper-competitive, especially in the eastern part of Massachusetts bordering CT & RI.

In an article I think connected to KG Urban’s investors concerns, Howard Stutz wrote that “Moody’s Investors Service said the casino industry’s cash flow prospects could climb as much as 4 percent over next 12 to 18 months……18 U.S. states with casinos reported a 4.1 percent increase in monthly gaming revenue during May, following a 4 percent increase in April. In May, every state but New Jersey and Connecticut saw improvement. With these numbers in hand, the advisory firm changed its overall outlook of the U.S. gaming industry from a negative to a stable rating.”

You see, gambling is on the rise everywhere – but not necessarily here in New England.  Maine is experiencing a lull and decline with it’s two small casinos having run the entire state, New Hampshire, and borders on Canada. The key in the above statement by Moody’s is that the northeast isn’t improving like the rest of the nation – “every state but New Jersey and Connecticut saw improvement.”  Rhode Island’s statistics are not reported as in other states, but this area in New England (Eastern CT, RI, Southeast MA) is not destined for such a rise in revenue. The two exceptions in the northeast are New York State and Pennsylvania (which has shown a slight resurgence in the last months after a couple of years in decline.)

ri_bluLast week I posted an article to get a rise out of people – I admit, I’m not expecting Eight Casinos Between CT Casinos and Everett, Massachusetts, but with all the possibilities listed, it boggles the mind. At least now we can take one of those possibilities out of the running.

By the way, building a big modern casino doesn’t mean people will flock to it and make it their new gambling destination.  The proof in the east can be spelled with 5 letters: R-E-V-E-L!

Here are a few facts that changed the New Bedford backers minds:

  1. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is still looking to build casino resort in Taunton.
  2. Mass Gaming & Entertainment, the developers proposing Brockton casinos, are still pledging to remain in the hunt for a casino.
  3. Connecticut and Rhode Island have both discussed the potential of expanding their existing casino industries. And while she was against it all along, it makes sense that Attorney General Maura Healey cautioned the Massachusetts Gaming Commission about the threat of an over-saturated gaming market.

And now a few side rants to get off my chest related to the whole thing:

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Stephen Crosby of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission

  1. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission seems so naive to think that this process would be so simple –  pick four casinos, build them quickly like Legoland, and take the rest of New England’s money with just a whimper and a white flag from the other states?
  2. One newspaper article I read accused Foxwoods of failing on this deal, which is completely false.  Consider Foxwoods a subcontractor for the job – only the job never materialized!
  3. Mohegan_palmer_casino_rendering

    Palmer Casino Proposal

    Finally, another jab at the MGC plan.  Brockton is similar to Palmer, Mass in economic need and instability.  Both are tired old mill towns trying to reinvent itself, like so many towns in New England. Mohegan Sun’s casino proposal in Palmer was denied by the MGC, instead choosing MGM in Springfield.  Now Springfield won’t see it happen until late 2018 or even later, while I’m sure the Palmer casino would have already been started and would have been competing and drawing with both New York State and Connecticut, and bringing the state of Massachusetts revenue earlier than 2018.

So far, Massachusetts has a “box of slots” (as MGM Muren calls them) working well to bring in the casino revenue to Massachusetts, and stalled projects all over the state. I end by quoting from the Broadway show “Wicked.” The now famous song “Defying Gravity” begins with Elphaba and Glinda saying to each other “I hope you’re happy – I hope you’re happy, now!”

Well, so far Massachusetts, are ya?

that’s all for now.

Binbin