Analysis: Market still exists for southeastern casino

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, APRIL 2, 2015…..Consultants are advising state gambling regulators that a market still exists for a casino in southeastern Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has signed off on licenses for proposed casinos in Everett and Springfield, as well as a slots parlor in Plainville scheduled to open in June. But commissioners have indicated they do not necessarily have to approve a casino for southeastern Massachusetts, also known as “Region C.”

The 2011 expanded gambling law allows for the establishment of up to three casinos and a slots parlor.

Uncertainty has surrounded Region C, since the Mashpee Wampanoags are waiting to see if a federal application for taking land into trust for the tribe will be approved, allowing them to set up a resort casino in Taunton.

Neighboring states are also considering expanding the gambling industry within their borders, partly in response to the Bay State’s legalization of casinos.

“The most significant factor that will impact a Region C resort casino performance will be the size and scope (including market introduction timing) of the assumed Indian Casino in Region C as well as the size and scope of the resort casino that is being proposed,” the memo from HLT Advisory Inc. to the Gaming Commission said.

If casinos are approved in neighboring states, gambling facilities in Springfield and Boston are more likely to feel the impact than a potential facility in the Bay State’s southeastern region, according to the memo.

“While it was always assumed that additional casinos could be implemented in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine, and that this possibility is currently being discussed in these states, as of this date, additional casinos have not been approved,” the memo, dated April 1, said.

“If these States do in fact approve facilities, the impact of this potential new competition will likely not be material to the Region C opportunity (i.e. they will likely impact the performance of the Region A and B casinos, as well as existing casinos in Connecticut and Rhode Island),” the memo added.

Groups seeking applying for a Region C license are likely aware of the potential for a tribal casino as well as an increase in out-of-state competition, the memo noted.

Different groups of developers are seeking to build resort casinos in Somerset, Brockton and New Bedford.

Gaming Commissioner Gayle Cameron requested a new market analysis last month, as commissioners voted to give two of the groups — the Somerset and New Bedford camps — extensions until May 4 to file applications.

Copyright 2015 State House News Service

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