Despite the challenging times, casinos remain optimistic about New England’s expansion

The running joke from the first New England Gaming Summit last week was the front-page headline on USA Today that morning that the recession was over. With the gaming industry still reeling from far less revenue than it had seen a few years ago, and the summit’s host casino, Mohegan Sun, announced a week ago that it was laying off 475 people, the economy did not seem to be growing again for most of the 200 in attendance.

But despite the bumpy road facing the industry, speakers at the summit generally seemed very optimistic about the industry’s expansion, especially in Massachusetts. “We strongly believe that the current pullback in our industry does not continue, and that we should continue to plan for the growth that will eventually come as the economy recovers and spending increases,” said Mitchell Grossinger Etess, president and CEO of Mohegan Sun.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives, Senate and Governor Deval Patrick failed to reconcile differences in the proposed gaming bill before Congress went into recess ahead of November’s election, but all three joined to expand gaming, including resort casinos. “In 2011, we will review the issue again because we have to review it again,” said Senator Stan Rosenberg. 에볼루션 바카라사이트

Palmer appears to be the most attractive place for the Mohegan Sun, with recent polls showing residents of small towns less than 90 minutes from Boston and just a short distance from Turnpike, Massachusetts, backing the resort casino 2-1. “We have been studying and deliberating on this issue since 1996,” said Paul Burns, the town council president. “We welcome the opportunity to develop this project. When does this happen? We have discussed this issue for 15 years. We are comfortable with this issue and understand both the cost and the benefits.”

“Farmer is undoubtedly the premier spot for the Commonwealth’s casino resorts,” Etes said. “More than 11 million adults are within two hours of Palmer throughout New York and New England. Palmer’s central location is ideal for driving important businesses out of state.” In fact, attracting out-of-state businesses and preventing in-state gamblers from leaving the state was another major theme of the summit. With Massachusetts on the verge of approving the casino game, lawmakers in New Hampshire have been discussing the idea.

The strategy is really geared towards plundering the state of Massachusetts,” said Clyde Barrow, director of the Center for Policy Analysis at UMass Dartmouth. “They make that very clear in the bill that was passed. Part of the criteria for granting licenses is how much income is coming from Massachusetts. So all three of the four facilities they talked about were literally within five steps of the Massachusetts border.”

Sen. Lou D’Alessandro has been introducing a game-related bill in the New Hampshire Senate for the past 12 years and has been passed four times, but he has never passed it in the House of Representatives. Some people think that the bill could change if Congressmen Beacon Hill can pass it in Massachusetts next year. “If the game comes to Massachusetts, it reinforces the case and I believe it’s only a matter of time before it comes to New Hampshire,” said Rep. David Campbell.

However, many speakers have warned that expansions should be made to the right size and scope. The Mohegan Sun and Foxwood are huge resort casinos, but the area is unlikely to be able to support operations on a more similar scale. “We all have to be ready to manage the next wave of expansion,” said Marshan Tuket Pequot Tribal Chairman Rodney Butler. “In this new era, it’s not as simple as ‘if you build it, they’ll come’.” And just as homeowners are trying to find a mortgage, those trying to build a huge resort casino will find it much more difficult to finance than it was a few years ago.

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