It's official: if you live in Southeastern Massachusetts, the Taunton casino is the only game in town.
That’s because, last week, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission nixed a multi-million dollar proposal to build a Casino on the Brockton Fairgrounds, which would have been only 20 miles away from a forthcoming casino in Taunton run by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe.
The Gaming Commission's chairman, Steve Crosby, joined Jim Braude and Margery Eagan to discuss the licensing process, the failed Brockton bid, and what's next for the stalled Wynn project in Everett.
On whether the licensing process for a casino in "Region C" (southeastern Massachusetts) is truly over:
It’s over unless something dramatic changes. We can always open it up again, but for the time being, it's over and we hope it is over…[JIM BRAUDE: What if the tribe in Taunton backs out?] If the Indian tribe weren’t in the mix then others might well bid. A lot of people didn’t bid because of the fear of the Indian tribe.
On whether he would have voted to approve the Brockton casino—even if Taunton was not in the mix:
I said at the time it would have been a very close call for me. I think it would have been a close call for all the commissioners. I didn’t actually say I was disappointed in the design, but...it didn’t have any of the broader economic development strategies that are so distinctive in the Springfield project. For example, there was a possibility that might end up being a standalone casino, isolated from the rest of the community that acutally has a negative impact on the surrounding community rather than a net positive impact, what we’re trying to do. I was disappointed there weren't strategies to get a broader economic development lift out of this.
On the status of the stalled Wynn casino in Everett:
There are a number of things that are going on. First of all, the Somerville lawsuit only affects part of the waterfront area. The waterfront goes pretty deep in the property. But theoretically, they can work beyond the waterfront. So some of the area in back, some of the prep, some of the back access road, there are some things they can do to begin construction. [JIM BRAUDE: Are they doing it?] Yeah. I shouldn’t say that. I think they are, yes. At least they’re deciding to—if the decision in the administrative process in the Curtatone appeal isn’t quickly resolved.
There’s the long-term planning project for Sullivan square. That’s an ongoing project. We continue to have to write our own regs for things like how we’re going to supervise the table games and so forth, we’ve never written those regs. There’s plenty for us to do. But our hope is that will get resolved sooner or later. It’s been a long time now and it’s been too much.
To hear more from Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Steve Crosby, tune in to Boston Public Radio above. This transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.