The Massachusetts Gaming Commission formally awarded casino licenses to MGM and Wynn Resorts, boosting state coffers by $170 million.
Both new licenses were promised earlier this year, but formal recognition had to wait until voters had their say last Tuesday. A question for Massachusetts voters on Election Day asked how many were in favor of repealing the 2011 law that permits casino gambling.
Sixty percent voted against repeal, allowing the Bay State to proceed with its plan to roll out three land-based casinos. The third license will not be awarded until 2015. The submission of applications to be considered for the final casino license for the Southeastern Massachusetts region has been extended until the end of January, 2015.
Wynn Resorts responded to receiving the new gaming license by paying the commission the $85 million state license fee. MGM will do the same on November 17, the Boston Globe reported. MGM Resorts will erect a casino/entertainment complex in Springfield, while Wynn’s project that includes a casino hotel is earmarked for Everett.
Though MGM is a week behind Wynn in paying the $85 million fee, MGM got an early start on construction by sending workers to the casino site the day after the election to test the soil. Wynn will begin its environmental cleanup phase of the project early in 2015, with a grand opening set for 2017.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission did not attempt to sway voters in either direction, electing not to take a stand on the referendum proposed to residents on November 4. The fact that 40% opposed casino gambling expansion has prompted regulators to place special emphasis on problem gambling and other issues that concern voters.
The funds obtained by the state for the casino licenses will go toward several causes that include education, tourism, public health, and transportation.
Another gaming license that restricts gambling to a slot parlor was awarded to Penn National Gaming previously. Construction on that project has been underway since March and when completed will provide roughly 1,250 slot machines at the harness racing track in Plainville. The anticipated opening is June of next year.[geolink href=”https://www.usafriendlypokersites.com/massachusetts/”]Online poker and gambling regulation may follow[/geolink] land-based action at some point. Previous attempts at approval in the form of igaming bills have been introduced in the state legislature but have not gained traction. Approval is [geolink href=”https://www.usafriendlypokersites.com/massachusetts-consider-online-gambling/”]expected to come eventually[/geolink], according to a number of industry insiders, but may take a year or more to be realized.