Brockton Enters Enter Bay State Casino Bid Process

Sometime this year, possibly in May, the residents of Brockton, Massachusetts, will vote on a casino host community agreement with Mass Gaming & Entertainment and its partner George Carney (l.). They hope to build a casino resort on the Brockton fairgrounds, which Carney owns.

The mayor of Brockton has reached a host city agreement with George Carney and Mass Gaming & Entertainment LLC to put a vote for a 0 million casino resort and a 250-room hotel on the 60-acre Brockton fairgrounds before the residents of the city.

A tentative date of May 12 has been set for the vote. The agreement and the vote still must be approved of by the city council.

Brockton appears to be a good bet to pass such a referendum since its residents overwhelmingly opposed the initiative last November that would have repealed the 2011 gaming expansion law.

In making the announcement last week Mayor Bill Carpenter said that the city would be paid at least $10 million annually if the casino is built. Supporters say the casino could create 1,500 jobs as well as collateral benefits such as encouraging new restaurants and retail shops.

“It’s only the first hurdle, but it’s an important one,” said the mayor. “This has the potential to change the fortunes of the city.”

This puts the city and Mass Gaming in the running for the southeastern casino license that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission hopes to award this year. They have already filed their application. Applicants must submit a second phase by May 26.

The Carney family first mentioned the idea of a Brockton casino in December. The following month they announced their partnership with Mass Gaming, which is an affiliate of Rush Street Gaming. If the casino were built that would mean the end of horse racing at the fairgrounds, Carney has said.

Carney will continue to operate Raynham Park, which formerly offered greyhound racing but now only operates simulcast wagering. He had discussed reviving horseracing at the fairgrounds, where it was offered until the 1970s, however if he and his partner builds a casino the racetrack won’t be part of the project.

Mass Gaming has committed to giving preferential hiring of city residents and vendors and to pay for traffic and public safety studies for the area where the casino would be located.

Mass Gaming is competing with KG Urban, which wants to build a casino resort in New Bedford. Two groups who filed an application earlier, Somerset On the Move LLC and Crossroads Massachusetts, have said they plain to combine forces and make a joint proposal.

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is waiting for approval to put land into trust in Taunton. If that action happens, the tribe’s project would suddenly move to the forefront of likely candidates for the southeastern license.

MGM Springfield

The final impediment to a March-groundbreaking for the $800 million MGM Springfield, the casino resort being built by MGM Resorts International, appears to have been cleared.

MGM plans to open the casino resort in September 2017.

The Springfield Historical Commission last week granted MGM a waiver to demolish the 100-year-old Zanetti school in the city’s South End. The school was heavily damaged when a freak tornado went through that part of the city in 2011. Because the school is more than a century old a waiver is required to tear it down. A parking garage for the casino will replace it. The casino resort property includes several existing parking lots. The parking garage will be built first in order to minimize the impact of the construction on people who work in the South End.

The historical commission is also working with the developer to reach agreements on four historical buildings that the commission wants to preserve completely, or wants to preserve more of than MGM wants to preserve.

Meanwhile MGM Springfield has bought all the land it needs for its casino resort project.

Return of the Chairman

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby has returned to the helm of the commission after being sidelined when the commission was deciding which developer to award the license to for the Boston Metro casino.

As a result of accusations that he might not be neutral about that license due to past associations with persons connected to the casino Crosby recused himself from all deliberations having to do with that license. Commissioner Jim McHugh was acting chairman during that time.

Now that the commission has awarded the license to Steve Wynn’s casino project in Everett, Crosby is back as chairman.

Crosby last month told Governor Charlie Baker that he plans to participate in all other issues regarding the Everett license. Meanwhile Wynn has taken possession of the property along the Mystic River where the casino will be built.

Last week Crosby told the Boston Globe that he was happy to be back fully as chairman. “It was an important topic, and I didn’t have any doubt that I could be objective about it. But it was the right thing to do. There was no way I could stay involved without there being this continuing firestorm.”