Region C Deserves a Casino [OPINION]
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has agreed to revisit the idea of issuing a commercial gaming license in southeastern Massachusetts, which is known as Region C. The state's gaming law calls for up to three licenses, but so far only two have been awarded–one in Greater Boston and the other in Springfield.
The Patrick Administration and the Massachusetts Legislature decided that a Native American tribe should be given priority in Region C, which drove away most commercial investors. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has so far been unsuccessful in winning federal approval for its casino plan in Taunton and is facing internal issues that could prevent a tribal casino from advancing.
A business interest did propose a commercial casino for the Brockton Fairgrounds, but the proposal was rejected three years ago by the Commission. Brockton is seeking reconsideration and the Commission has agreed to review the status of Region C.
Southeastern Massachusetts certainly could support a casino of its own. Commissioners have raised concerns that with casinos now open in Everett, Springfield and just across the border in Rhode Island that the market is spread too thin. I disagree.
Ask folks around here where they go to gamble and most will tell you they still travel to Mohegan Sun or Foxwoods. Rhode Island casinos in Tiverton and Lincoln do attract business from Southeastern Massachusetts as well.
Southeastern Massachusetts could certainly support a casino of its own. If lawmakers have concerns, they could amend the law and permit a smaller scale casino to open here.
Region C deserves a casino of its own and should not be denied. My preference would be to make it attractive for an investment company to look at New Bedford's waterfront, but the entire region should be given an opportunity to participate in the process which should be reopened by the Commission immediately.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.