Developer Seeking Law Change to Build Casino in Wareham
BOSTON — A developer from the family behind the Marina Bay complex and Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy is expected Tuesday to announce plans for a mixed-use development in Wareham, and will ask the state Legislature to change Massachusetts gaming law to allow the project to include "a gaming component."
The Notos Group LLC, led by Thomas O'Connell, plans to unveil its vision for a broad, mixed-use development on Glen Charlie Road in Wareham at events in Quincy and Wareham on Tuesday. The group would like to make gaming a component of the project, according to a source with knowledge of the developers' plan, and the Wareham site falls within the region where the Gaming Commission could still license a full-scale casino.
But Notos is not convinced that Massachusetts needs a third full-scale casino and plans to ask the Legislature to amend the 2011 expanded gaming law to give the Gaming Commission the flexibility to issue a license for something less than a full-scale resort casino as is called for by law, the source said.
Ever since the Gaming Commission declined to issue casino license for Region C -- the commission's name for the southeastern part of the state -- in 2016, gaming operators and others have pressed the commission to re-open the bidding process. The 2011 expanded gaming law called for up to three resort casinos, one per region, and up to one slots parlor in Massachusetts.
Notos plans to draft and support legislation that would give the Gaming Commission flexibility to issue either a second slots parlor license or to license another type of gaming establishment that would fall somewhere on the spectrum between slots parlor and full-blown casino, the source said. The legislation has not yet been drafted.
Notos Group's broad development plan will be unveiled Tuesday at two separate events: at 11 a.m. at Granite Links in Quincy and at 3 p.m. at the proposed site -- 257 Glen Charlie Road in Wareham.
Mass Gaming & Entertainment, the developer behind the unsuccessful 2016 bid to build a casino at the Brockton Fairgrounds, kicked off the latest round of debate over Region C when it petitioned the Gaming Commission last year to reconsider its rejected application without reopening a broad application process for the southeastern region casino license. The commission first has to determine whether that request "is appropriately in front of the commission or not," Executive Director Edward Bedrosian told lawmakers last month.
The Gaming Commission earlier this summer agreed to be briefed by its legal staff on a variety of issues associated with the still-unassigned casino license for the southeastern part of the state with the intention of weighing whether to re-open the bidding process.
Commission Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein asked that the commission staff begin preparing briefings regarding the status of Region C, MG&E's motion for reconsideration, an overview of the public comments last year when the commission sought input on Region C from the public, and an update on the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe's efforts to develop a casino in Taunton as "first steps in getting us up to speed on this matter."