Mass. piles up on casino license application fees

Jan 21, 2013 6:09 PM

Massachusetts must be doing something right. The Commonwealth hasn’t yet awarded any of the authorized casino licenses but it already has wracked up $4.4 million in fees. That’s what 11 potential license bidders forked over in non-refundable filing fees…$400,000 each.

And there are at least another four companies that asked for a delay or a waiver so they can join in the fun. The regulators have rejected the delay appeal.

Most prominent among the bidders were the operators of Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston and their partner, Caesars Entertainment Corp. That eastern Massachusetts license is being challenged by Wynn Resorts Ltd., which has chosen a location in nearby Everett, and possibly by Rush Street, that has simply identified Eastern Massachusetts as its potential location without specifying an exact location or the type of license (casino or slots facility).

Rush Street was created by wealthy Chicago developer Neil Bluhm who currently has casino operations in Pennsylvania.

The western Massachusetts license is being sought by MGM Resorts International, Penn National Gaming Inc., Mohegan Sun and Hard Rock International. Mohegan Sun has chosen property in Palmer while the other three are focused on the Springfield area.

Another major company that was a last-minute entry was the Cordish Cos. of Baltimore. The company, owner of Maryland’s largest casino, called Maryland Line, did not specify a particular location when it paid its $400,000 filing fee.

Seeking the slots facility license are Plainridge Racecourse, owned by former state Racing Commission Chairman Gary Piontkowsky, and Raynham Park, a former greyhound track and current simulcast wagering facility owned by political powerhouse George Carney. They may be challenged by Crossroads and Warner Gaming, which has selected Milford as its location.

Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.

Contact Ray at [email protected].

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