Massachusetts Gaming Commission Vows to Speed Up Decision Process
As tribes make their case for a casino in Massachusetts, the state's gaming commission has agreed to issue licenses for two of the regions in February and March of 2014. And it will approve the license for the the sole slot machine facility by September or October of this year.
"Everybody wants us to move faster," Stephen Crosby, the chairman of the commission, told The Springfield Republican. "We want to move faster. We want the money to start rolling."
Four major companies are bidding on the western Massachusetts license: the Mohegan Sun in Palmer; the Seminole Tribe's Hard Rock International in West Springfield, and MGM Resorts and Penn National, both in Springfield.
In the eastern region, or Boston area, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation's Foxwoods Resort Casino and developer David Nunes are jointly vying for a license in Milford. The parties will compete against partners Caesars Entertainment and the Suffolk Downs race track, as well as Wynn Resorts, which has proposed a casino in Everett.
In the southeast region, state law gives preference to a federally recognized tribe. The Wampanoag Tribe of Mashpee seeks approval for a casino in Taunton, and the tribe made great leaps toward its goal this past week. The tribe welcomed the Interior Department's preliminary approval for an initial reservation, which would provide Mashpee citizens with an acknowledged homeland and clear the way for the development of the tribe's proposed Project First Light, a $500 million destination resort casino. The tribe asked the Interior for 170 acres of land in Mashpee, Cape Cod, and 146 acres in Taunton, Massachusetts taken into trust. (Read: Mashpee Gets Preliminary Green Light for Initial Reservation and Casino Land in Massachusetts)
According to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission's projected timetable, casino resorts would require two years for construction and open in the state in early 2016, reported the Taunton Daily Gazette.