Mass Gaming Commission Shuts Door on Brockton Casino Plans

A multi-million dollar casino games palace; a source of much needed revenue; a throng of new jobs for a flagging community; that’s what the proposed $667 million hotel and casino meant for the people of Brockton, Massachusetts. But alas, thanks to a 4-1 vote by the state’s gaming regulators, it will never be.

Mass Gaming Commission denies Brockton CasinoOn Thursday, following two days of deliberations, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission shot down plans for the casino, originally destined for construction atop the Brockton Fairgrounds, eliminating all hope to revive the economically challenged  south-eastern city in Plymouth County – one of the poorest in all the state. Instead, the rejected plans will pave the way for a flourishing tribal casino in nearby Taunton, about 15 miles to the south.

The Commission defended its rejection of the Brockton casino by stipulating it would have faced entirely too much competition to thrive in the state’s fledgling gambling market.

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, having been officially approved for federal recognition in January, is already moving forward with the construction of the $1 billion First Light Resort, complete with hotel, casino games space, entertainment, lounge and multiple dining venues. And because it’s being built on tribal lands, the state has no say in the matter, as it does with the Brockton casino.

Add to that two Las Vegas-style resorts being built in Springfield, MA and Everett, MA, by MGM and Wynn Resorts respectively. There’s also the already-established Twin River Casino about an hour away in Lincoln, RI, and now there’s talk of Twin River owners building another casino in Rhode Island, right on the border of Massachusetts.

Suffice to say, the Brockton Casino would have been met with a great deal of competition right out of the gate.

Stephen Crosby, Chairman of the Mass Gaming Commission, said “it comes down to this not being the kind of casino Massachusetts envisioned.” All things considered, he called the proposal “less than a knockout.”

There’s been heavy support from the community in Brockton, who considered the gambling resort to be a savior for the impoverished city, where unemployment and poverty rates are chronically high.

George Carney, a local businessman who had teamed up with real estate magnate Neil Bluhm on the hotel and casino games project, reacted to the vote. “I feel bad for the people of Brockton because they desperately need the jobs and the city needs the money,” he said.

Huge Win for Tribal Hotel & Casino Games in Taunton

On the other end of the spectrum, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is surely toasting the immense victory. Although they’ll still have competition from the slots parlor in Plainville, as well as one – maybe two – casinos across the border in Rhode Island, they won’t have to worry about their First Light Resort competing with another destination casino just 15 miles away.

If by chance the tribal gaming facility’s plans are derailed – a federal appeal regarding the tribe’s right to recognition has already been filed – Crosby did say the Commission would reconsider the proposal for a casino in Brockton. But as things stand now, Commission member Eduardo Zuniga explained that two close-quarters gaming establishments would not align with the state’s goal of “building a long-lasting and robust gaming industry.”

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