Nov 6, 2013
08:38 AM
Connecticut Today

Mohegans Stymied In Bid for Casino in Palmer, Mass.

Mohegans Stymied In Bid for Casino in Palmer, Mass.

Courtesy of Mohegan Sun Massachusetts

Renderings of the proposed plan for Mohegan Sun Massachusetts in Palmer, Mass.

As any gambler knows, if you roll snake eyes and lose, no casino will not let you pick up the dice and roll again.

Yet that's exactly what Mohegan Sun is doing, as Mohegan tribal leaders have formally asked for a recount in the wake of their loss in Tuesday's election in Palmer, Mass., where voters rejected Mohegan Sun's $1 billion proposal to build and operate a casino in town. According to the town clerk's office, the unofficial vote was 2,657 to 2,564—a difference of only 93 votes. Mohegan Sun has charged that a poll watcher reported that there were some difficulties with voting machines in one of the town's precincts, resulting in the possible loss of votes.

An estimated 66 percent of the town's 8,412 registered voters turned out to a cast a ballot on the referendum, a strong showing given the light voter turnout reported in many places.

Mohegan Sun has gone "all in" in trying to win one of the three licenses for a regional casino that the state of Massachusetts has authorized, having already anted up a $400,000 fee with their application in addition to the untold funds put into developing architectural and business plans, as well as trying to win local support for the bid.

Mohegan Sun’s proposed agreement with the town of Palmer included $16 million in annual payments for economic development, larger fire and police departments, and public works improvements as well as 25 percent of the casino’s first $400 million in gaming revenue.

Connecticut Magazine recently looked in depth at the efforts of the two Connecticut casinos as they tried to stake claims in the Massachusetts gaming expansion.

Next up is the Mashantucket Pequots of Foxwoods, who on Nov. 19 face a similar showdown with the town of Milford, Mass., as a referendum for their $1 billion proposal—including $33 to the town for community development plus more than $30 million in projected annual payments, including real estate taxes, 2 percent of all gross gaming profits above $500 million and school-aid contributions—goes to a vote.

Foxwoods is squaring off against Wynn Resorts Ltd.—the company owned by famed Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn—which has designated nearby Everett, Mass., and has already won 86 percent approval in a June referendum vote.

 

Mohegans Stymied In Bid for Casino in Palmer, Mass.

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