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Massachusetts Gaming Commission to issue 1st casino license

Filed Under: Regulation
More on: bia, connecticut, mashantucket, massachusetts, mohegan, wampanoag

Artist's rendering of MGM Springfield casino in western Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will issue the state's first commercial casino license tomorrow.

MGM Resorts International is the only competitor for the license in the western part of the state. The firm plans to spend $800 million on a facility in Springfield, an area that's expected to draw gamblers from Connecticut and New York.

The Mohegan Tribe wanted to build in western Massachusetts too but was knocked out of the running after losing a local referendum. The tribe is now competing for the eastern region license with the $1.3 billion Mohegan Sun Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission expects to award that license on August 29 at the earlier or September 12 at the latest. The Mohegans are facing competition from Wynn Resorts, which is owned by billionaire Steve Wynn.

As for the southeastern region, a license could be awarded in early 2015. However, that depends on how much progress the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has made on its $500 million First Light Resort and Casino, which is still under review at the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut has filed an application for the southeastern license. Plans call for a $750 million casino in Fall River but news reports claim the tribe is looking at a different site in New Bedford.

H.3702, the Massachusetts Expanded Gaming Act, authorized three casinos in three regions of the state. The law gives first shot in the southeastern region to a "federally recognized tribe."

The tribal provision was challenged in federal court by a non-Indian developer who eventually dropped the suit after losing a series of rulings. But the law itself faces a challenge in state court and MGM wants to wait until that case is resolved before paying an $85 million license fee to the state.

Get the Story:
MGM Springfield accepts conditions attached to casino license but asks gaming commission for delay considering uncertainty regarding ballot question (The Springfield Republican 6/12)
MGM Springfield to get state's 1st casino license (AP 6/12)
MGM set to get panel OK (The Boston Herald 6/12)
State ready to give MGM casino license in Springfield (The Boston Globe 6/12)

Related Stories:
Mashantucket Tribe said to be interested in casino at golf course (6/11)

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