Massachusetts Gaming Chairman Stephen Crosby presented a severe critique of the proposed casino in Brockton. Several days later, the state commission voted not to issue the permit to MG&E (Mass Gaming and Entertainment, LLC), the sole remaining applicant for the casino license in Brockton. No other commercial casino is currently planned in the state, although another casino may be planned and approved by the Gaming Commission in the future. Currently, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is organized to only allow three commercial casinos in the state, and two have already been approved or constructed.
Chairman Crosby stated “[T]he Commission has a responsibility to make a big decision in view of all considerations and that includes the best long-term interests of the Commonwealth. I would like to take this opportunity to commend the applicant Mass Gaming & Entertainment LLC for their commitment and hard work, to acknowledge the City of Brockton and Mayor Bill Carpenter for his advocacy and passion for his community, and my fellow commissioners, MGC staff and those who participated in the evaluation process for their dedication and meticulous attention to detail.” Crosby had a number of criticisms about MG&E’s proposal, and he indicated the proposal did not contribute to the economic development of Brockton generally. Instead, he asserted that the proposed plan was insular and services were isolated from the community by the large parking lot that surrounded the proposed casino.
In his presentation critiquing the proposal, Chairman Crosby cited the lack of integration with the surrounding city. Crosby stated that, unlike the MGM casino that has already been planned and approved for development in Springfield, the MG&E project pays no attention to the individuality of the state or city in which the planned casino was to be located. Chairman Crosby also indicated surprise that MG&E did not apply lessons from the approved casino in Springfield as “you get a chance to see what we, what the commission values, and what other people have done, and what we have noted as distinctive.”
Chairman Crosby was very precise in his criticisms of the MG&E proposal. His criticisms may be constructive for other organizations that may wish to bid for rights to open a Massachusetts casino in the future. His criticism was very specific. Crosby cited MG&E’s lack of coordination with local and regional tourism venues. He considered “insufficient” MG&E’s integration and inclusion of local history, including specifically boxing history and local buildings. Furthermore, MG&E described no distinctive characteristics, unlike other casinos they have built. Crosby said they seem to be saying “‘We will do good things. Just trust us.'”
According to Crosby, the only barely sufficient component of the proposal was MG&E’s commitment to diversity, although that was not well outlined and it was without specifics. The proposal promises “many training programs” to develop and assure diversity, without specifics as to how these programs will be put in place. Chairman Crosby also criticized the lack of documentation of plans to assure diversity with outside vendors.
Four of the five members of the Gaming Commission voted against the contract with Mass Gaming and Entertainment. Members of the Commission cited a number of reasons for voting against the contract, including a proposed tribal casino that is being built nearby and loss of state tax revenue due to legislation that will reduce casino taxes if a competitive casino is built near the Mashpee Wampanoag facility. State law requires 17 percent tax for tribal casinos, discounted from 25 percent from commercial casinos. However, if a commercial casino is located too near the tribal casino tax is reduced to zero for sharing the market.