Mohegan Sun raises Palmer casino proposal to $1B

Jul 8, 2013 7:10 PM

Stakes continue to rise in Massachusetts where three casino licenses, and one slots license, are up for bid. Proof came last week with the announcement from the Mohegan Sun that it was raising its proposal in Palmer to $1 billion.

The new renderings replace the tribe’s original bid of a $600 million project for the lone license to be granted for the western part of the Commonwealth.

Competing for that license were such name brands as MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming Inc., with both those companies choosing sites in the City of Springfield. However, the Springfield community chose MGM over Penn National, thus fulfilling a requirement for state consideration.

This Palmer proposal is not for a tribal license, although Mohegan Sun operates a major casino on tribal land in Connecticut.

Mohegan Sun’s new plans show a casino, a 250-room hotel, an indoor and outdoor water park and other facilities on a tract of land involving some 152 acres just off the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Mitchell Etess, Mohegan Sun’s CEO, was quoted as saying the expanded proposal was not a response to the competition but really an attempt to create a true destination resort that would be capable of driving business from out-of-state.

Meanwhile, the plans by Wynn Resorts of Las Vegas for a $1.2 billion casino in Everett are being questioned by city officials of Medford, the site’s next-door neighbor.

Sadly for Medford residents, under the state casino law the locale in which the casino is located must approve the project but neighboring communities have no say in the matter.

But, Medford people are concerned about traffic surrounding the gambling facility. The MBTA Wellington subway station in Medford, where busy routes 16 and 28 intersect, is less than a mile from the Everett casino.

A Medford spokesman said “traffic is still the number one concern” in his community.

Wynn’s competition for the eastern Massachusetts license are the operators of Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, and a group that proposed a casino to be located in a vacant industrial property in Milford.

Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.

Contact Ray at [email protected].

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