Blame Game Begins As New Bedford Casino Plan Dies
Count the casino as the latest broken promise to the City of New Bedford.
In a letter to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission Wednesday, KG Urban Enterprises CEO Barry Gosin rescinded the firm's application for the remaining casino license, dashing all hopes of a casino on New Befdord's waterfront. In the letter, Gosin told the Commission that KG Urban was "unable to create a viable financing package for the project."
Councilor-At-Large David Alves had worked closely with KG representatives for eight years, and tells WBSM News Mayor Jon Mitchell may have waited too long to discuss the possibility of a New Bedford casino with KG Urban. "This project was ready to go three years ago. And the difference between what was offered three years ago and what was signed in the Host Agency Agreement was limited, but nothing that was major that could not have been resolved three years ago had there been an opportunity to come to the table," said Alves.
Mayor Mitchell refutes Alves' statement, and says his administration can't be faulted for the proposal's failure, since KG Urban didn't have an operator for the casino until earlier this year. "And looking back at it, there may have been good reason for it because operators are shying away from them, knowing what we know today. But I would just point out that a month-and-a-half ago, he (Gosin) was saying that this was going to be financed," explained Mitchell. The mayor added he is "outraged" and "deeply disappointed" in Gosin's decision to pull out of the application process. Mitchell says Gosin "let his own team down, but what he's let down more than anyone else is the residents of our city."
Outspoken casino opponent Reverend David Lima says he was shocked at the immediacy of the news, but not the nature of it. "It doesn't surprise me. All through this debate there were a few of us that kept trying to wave the flag about how this plan and their viability was in question right from the beginning," stated Lima. Reverend Lima says he knows many people aren't happy with the news, but he hopes they will use that energy to work together to find other ways to improve New Bedford.
The announcement leaves only one other proposal in the running for the Region C resort casino license: a $650 million casino in Brockton. It is unclear at this time how the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will proceed in awarding the final casino license in the state.