Brockton Casino Investor Urges MassGaming for Quick Decision on Proposal
Neil Bluhm, one of the people behind the ambitious project for a casino resort in Brockton, urged the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to take swift action on the proposal. Otherwise, the investor threatened that he would withdraw his support for the construction of the gambling venue.
Mr. Bluhm is Chairman of gambling developer and operator Rush Street Gaming, parent company of the newly formed Mass Gaming and Entertainment, which is in charge of the $650-million casino project.
The investor expressed concerns that the state gambling regulator may be purposefully delaying its decision on whether it would grant Mass Gaming and Entertainment the sole Southeastern Massachusetts casino license. Mr. Bluhm suggested that commissioners would probably like to wait for the pending resolution on the legal status of a casino proposal from the state’s federally recognized Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Tribe.
The tribe has applied to take into trust 150 acres of land in Taunton. If granted the land, it would be able to commence work on its proposed plan for a gambling venue. However, Mr. Bluhm argued that if the Bureau of Indian Affairs rules in favor of the tribe, the decision will most certainly be appealed. This, in turn, may launch a years-long legal battle and the investor indicated that he could not wait that long.
The Brockton casino plan is the only bidder for the Southeastern Massachusetts casino license. Previously, New Bedford proposed a similarly ambitious project for the development of a $650-million casino and hotel venue but poor financing plan resulted in developers withdrawing from competition.
Although the Massachusetts Gaming Commission gave the nod to three licenses for fully-fledged casinos in the state last year, it pointed out that this did not necessarily mean that all three would be granted.
As mentioned above, Mr. Bluhm called for the state gambling regulator to announce its decision, despite the fact that the Mashpee Wampanoag is waiting for a resolution on its application for land. The investor pointed out that he does not fear competition and what concerns him is that it may take years before the tribal casino project is approved.
Mr. Bluhm told local media that he does not insist on his proposal being given the green light by gambling regulators. He simply wants it to be reviewed by commissioners so that they could decide whether it is the best option for the region and the state as a whole.
Following a Mass Gaming and Entertainment request, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission decided to open a comment period on whether commissioners should make a swift decision on the proposed Brockton casino. Comments could be submitted up until September 18.
Elaine Driscoll, a spokeswoman for the regulatory body, noted on Wednesday that a public meeting is likely to take place on September 24.
When asked whether Mass Gaming and Entertainment would be able to finance the expensive project, Mr. Bluhm told commissioners that it has all been secured. He further commented that Brockton is a better location for a gambling venue of this kind than New Bedford as it is closer to Boston and would potentially draw much more customers.
If approved, the Brockton casino is expected to generate annual revenue of $400 million. And if the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe eventually gets the nod to open a nearby casino in Taunton, Mass Gaming and Entertainment’s property is still to make no less than $330 million per year.