Massachusetts Casino News Overwhelming Lately

So, where do I begin?  Let me take you back a few weeks to start because there has been a whirlwind of news in the Bay State concerning their new found obsession – casino gambling.  So I decided to make the casino news in Massachusetts brief, and if interested you can look for more info –

Where to begin, where to begin…..

  • International Game Technology (IGT) inked a deal with the Massachusetts Gaming CommissionIGT & MGC for the provision of a central monitoring system to 20,000 electronic gaming devices at up to four venues in the Commonwealth. The implementation of IGT’s INTELLIGEN System in Massachusetts will be its sixth in the United States.
  • Wynn Resorts is opening an office in Massachusetts to oversee the development of a planned $1.6 billion casino in Everett. The gambling company announced Thursday that the 7,626-square-foot office in Medford about two miles from the site of the proposed casino.  Meanwhile, the same casino is mired in a lawsuits from both the city of Boston and neighboring city of Somerville.
    Wynn, Everett Mass

    Wynn, Everett Mass

    Mayor Marty Walsh claims the process by which the permit was awarded was rigged in favor of Steve Wynn’s Wynn Resorts. The Mass. State Ethics Commission is now checking into a possible conflict of interest on the part of gambling commission chairman Stephan Crosby who had a longstanding friendship and past business dealings with one of the owners of the Everett land sold to Wynn for the project

  • MGM has targeted the opening of their Springfield casino for late 2017, but that may be delayed further. MGM Springfield, in response to questions regarding its construction schedule and permitting delays related to its $800 million casino project, has scheduled a meeting with the MGC originally scheduled for yesterday. imagesThe discussions will include the MGM project and the pending Interstate 91 viaduct rehabilitation project in downtown center planned by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
  • In anticipation of the arrival of the expanded gaming industry, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is announcing the launch of the Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program. A future post will outline the program.
  • Developers proposing a Foxwoods casino for the city’s waterfront not only met a critical deadline set by gambling regulators, but a few days cleared a crucial step Tuesday as city residents overwhelmingly approved the proposal in a special election.

    New Bedford rendering

    New Bedford rendering

  • Of course the biggest news – Plainridge Park Opened to the public to start a new era in Massachusetts, Casino Gambling.image

That’s all for now.

Binbin

 

 

CT Casino Bill Changes Bring More Questions than Answers

image(20)MoSun SignThe bill to expand casino gaming in CT due to the posed threats by future Massachusetts casinos continues to go through changes.  Now, a two-step process for possibly opening a new tribal casino in Connecticut faces a vote in the state House of Representatives.

Step 1 – the tribes would issue a request for proposals to municipalities interested in hosting one satellite casino, most likely in northern Connecticut along the Interstate 1 corridor to help combat the planned MGM Resort casino in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts.

Step 2 – Any development agreement reached between the tribes and the community, following various local approvals, would have to be reviewed by the Attorney General and governor’s office. Ultimately, a new casino could not operate until the General Assembly amends state law to allow casino gambling.

The existing two tribal casinos are located on sovereign tribal land. A casino outside of tribal land brings many other considerations into question.

Patty McQueen, a spokeswoman for the two tribes, said both respect everyone’s position on the legislation, but stressed that the bill is about allowing the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes to retain jobs and revenue in Connecticut.

images

But I have other questions, outside the box if you will – both from the large picture state approach and from the individual gambler’s approach.

1)  Will this allow more gambling, privatized from the gambling industry?  Could Caesars Entertainment (who have teamed up with tribes in North Carolina & California), add  another to support Indian Tribes like the Shaticokes or Eastern Pequots for example?  Remember, the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) is looking into easing the process of federally recognition.  Interesting that the biggest opposition to to this is Dam Malloy and the State of CT.

2)  The anti-gambling community always has a great interest in saving CT citizens from gambling addiction – certainly a valid concern.  But won’t those who are enticed by additional a casino only 20 to 40 minutes away in Massachusetts.  MGM Springfield is definitely closer and easier to get to than CT’s tribal casinos in southeastern CT. Does a half hour make a difference?

3)  What are all these jobs CT will be losing if they don’t build another casino?  Vendors, suppliers, casino staff?  I would like to know about the specifics Connecticut is expected to lose that one casino will save.

4)  How will the two tribes play this out?  Obviously, some prefer Foxwoods, some prefer the Sun.  How will comp points be affected?  This may seem like a little consideration, but the place they spend their money it is as important to many gamblers as which part of CT are Red Sox or Yankees fans.

5)  I know this is far down the line, and could be a moot point, but…….will it have a hotel? How will it compete with MGM for the recreational gambler and the advantage gambler’s attention.  Night clubs?  Restaurants?  So much that should be considered NOW if it is given a green light now so the end result is a not half-thought-out version for the State of CT anti gaming groups to say “I told you so.”

So little time, yet so much at stake on both sides.  And still, so many questions……

That;’s all for now.

Binbin

 

Connecticut’s Native American Casino History Continues to Evolve

Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun - a Joint Effort?

Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun – a Joint Effort?

thDo you remember that it was Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. in 1991 that opened the door to casino gambling in CT?   At the time, Indian gambling was considered one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S., and by 1997 there were 150 Indian casinos.  CT was on the cutting edge of this industry, offering the first casino experience in the northeast since Atlantic City.

Here’s some irony for you. Weicker actually wanted to ban it, “only to be outflanked by an unlikely coalition of Catholic priests, PTAs and volunteer firefighters who found common cause with a tiny Indian tribe” according to  Mr.  Pazniokas. So, then “… Weicker created the framework under which two tribal casinos have thrived, while keeping rivals from Las Vegas at bay.” Who knew these decisions made in 1991 about a small tribe’s venture into gaming would set New England on course to become a major casino destination.According to Mark Pazniokas,  the legal opening for Foxwoods was threefold

  • the federal recognition of the Pequots as an active tribe
  • the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and
  • a seemingly insignificant state law allowing charities to host gambling events.  In Connecticut’s case, that meant a law that allowed charities to raise about $80,000 annually through “Las Vegas nights” could permit the Pequots to open the first casino in the northeast outside Atlantic City.

And there it was.  The spark that has lead to this – The great Casino War of the Milleneum in New England.

Now, we come back to 2015, and Saturation Casino Station in the northeast continues to grow.
By the way, according to The National Indian Gaming Association, there are 470 Indian gaming operations in the United States. These are owned by 242 of the nation’s 565 federally-recognized tribes and operate in 28 of the 50 states.  The total annual revenue from Indian gaming is nearing $30 billion.
Eight casinos inside this radius by 2017 - not including Maine and NY Expansion!

Eight casinos inside this radius by 2017 – not including Maine and NY Expansion!

So, the Nutmeg state is scared of the threats to the once undaunted Native American Casinos in southeastern CT.  Hey – why not change the rules?  Here are the suggested changes – a new deal with the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans, the operators of Foxwoods Resorts Casino and Mohegan Sun.

  • The tribes would be given permission to jointly expand off tribal lands.
  • The tribes would be able to have a better chance at preserving jobs and its existing share of gambling revenues
  • The Tribes would jointly build a casino off I-91 near the Massachusetts line to intercept patrons on their way to MGM Springfield, which is due to open in 2017.

    MGM Springfield, Springfield Mass

    MGM Springfield, Springfield Mass

What will all this become?  Be patient, this story is long but over.

However, there is a sub-plot to all of this.  Connecticut still has an odd history concerning it’s tribes – those who have and those who have not.  This week, I wish to combine some articles written in the past year, with some interesting history of the Native American tribes in CT.  I suggest that the status of Indian tribes in CT in terms of recognition and the BIA is based mostly on economics and CT legislators, not on entitled sovereignty that is due.

That’s all for now.

Binbin