Massachusetts: Center of Casino Controversy

Massachusetts Casino Controversy

It seems lately that Massachusetts has been the center of controversy. On one hand, they have been delaying the construction of the Everett Casino that the Wynn Resorts is trying to put into place, and on the other hand, some of the operators seem to be on the fence about whether or not to use skill-based slot machines. It will be a tough few weeks, or even months, as the state, its representatives, and the casino owners try to come to an agreement about both concerns.

Delay in Plans Comes at a High Cost

According to Wynn Resorts, the people of Massachusetts could lose up to $660 million each year if they do not allow them to proceed with the plans to build Everett Casino. The $1.7 billion construction is to take place in Somerville, but even their mayor is siding with the local residents of the city when it comes to this delay. The main concern that the residents have, and the reason they are delaying the project, is based on environmental grounds, seeing as how they never got around to talking with the city.

Mayor Joe Curtatone is backing the decision to postpone construction, as he had concerns about the project that were never addressed by Wynn. He was very displeased with the lack of communication, stating,

For the past two years, Steve Wynn and his representatives have had every opportunity to sit down, to work with us, to address our concerns about the impact his casino will have on our health and our environment and they haven’t even called to talk about that.

This hasn’t sat well with Wynn officials, as this appeal could delay the project by up to one year. It isn’t just Somerville, but most of the adjacent communities as well that have joined in the lawsuits to stop the entire proposal from passing. Michael Weaver, spokesman for Wynn, stated that they have done everything legally, having their permits looked over by five state agencies, and have even worked on a plan to resolve the traffic issue; which has been one of the arguments used by the residents to not build.

This may take longer than what Wynn expected, but if they can address all of the residents’ concerns and come up with solutions, they could resolve it faster.

Skill-Based Slots are Casinos Next Strategy

Recently, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has been debating whether having machines that are made to look and play like video games are a good strategy for their casinos. The main reason for them releasing draft regulations is in an attempt to win over the younger audience, which are not active slots players. These arcade-style machines are meant to add a more up to date feel to the way people play and bet, as the older machines are overlooked in lieu of other casino activities, like night clubs.

Older machines are set with a Random Number Generator (RNG), so players rely on luck of the draw. This is why this idea is something that could revolutionize the way people view gaming, where the players actually have influence over the outcome of the game. Anti-gambling activists have not taken this news kindly, as one spokesman, Les Bernal of the Massachusetts-based Stop Predatory Gambling states,

They’re trying to find new ways to get people hooked on gambling. It’s an incredibly predatory business for that reason.

Their main concern is that these new machines are more addicting than the older ones, but Christopher Moyer, spokesman for the American Gaming Association, said there is no evidence that suggests these games are more addictive than the current machines being used. We will have to wait and see when these skill-based games are placed in casinos.

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