Flanagan, Foxwoods announce deal to pursue casino in Fall River

Mayor Will Flanagan and executives of Foxwoods affiliate Crossroads Massachusetts LLC announced the developer’s intention to build a resort casino in Fall River at a Tuesday morning press conference. More

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Flanagan, Foxwoods announce deal to pursue casino in Fall River

AFTER LOSING A vote on its proposal for a $1 billion casino in Milford, Mass., Foxwoods affiliate Crossroads Massachusetts LLC (Foxwoods Resort Casino is pictured above) reached a deal with Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan to pursue a $750 million resort casino in the city that Flanagan said would create between 3,000 and 5,000 new jobs.
Posted 1/28/14

FALL RIVER – Mayor Will Flanagan and executives of Foxwoods affiliate Crossroads Massachusetts LLC announced the developer’s intention to build a resort casino in Fall River at a Tuesday morning press conference.

Flanagan told the Fall River Herald News on Monday that the project – which first entered discussions the day after voters in Milford, Mass., shot down plans for a $1 billion Foxwoods casino off Interstate 495 – would cost about $750 million and create between 3,000 and 5,000 new jobs in Fall River.

At the press conference Tuesday with Foxwoods CEO Scott Butera and Chief Operating Officer David Nunes, Flanagan officially announced the casino developer’s intent, emphasizing the potential of the casino to drive job creation and economic growth in the city.

The proposed casino project would require 30 to 70 acres of land, Flanagan said, and would include about 20 restaurants, a convention center, an entertainment arena, a retail shopping center and a 350-room hotel, in addition to 140,000 square feet of gaming space.

Flanagan will appoint a site selection committee to identify potential sites for the casino, and he hopes to have a location under agreement “in the very near future,” the Herald News reported.

According to the Associated Press, the state’s 2011 gambling law allows for one casino in southeastern Massachusetts but gives preference to a federally recognized Massachusetts Indian tribe, making it uncertain whether the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will grant approval to the Fall River proposal, even if voters green-light the plan.

Two Massachusetts tribes, the Mashpee Wampanoags and the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah, have been moving forward with plans to build casinos in Taunton and on Martha’s Vineyard, respectively, although they have been running into resistance at the national level. Approval of the Taunton plan would likely mean the end of the Fall River proposal.

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Nighty night, Twin River. Craig Clueless at Twin River is going to have a heck of a time figuring out how to retain the MA and RI patrons once a casino opens in SEMass and a slot parlor opens at Plainridge Race Course in Plainville.

I'm figuring the banks and hedge funds owning Twin River will have to bring in a real pro to manage the venue just to maintain competitive. If you look at Newport Grand, that facility is close to filing for bankruptcy. Once MA venues open, the odds are Newport Grand will file for bankruptcy and ultimately close its doors.

Twin River, despite what Clueless or chairman John Taylor spin, know that they cannot compete with a world-class destination resort in SEMass AND a slot parlor in Plainville offering more than just GTech video slots.

One important fact most people don't realize is that Twin River video lottery terminals, operated by the RI Lot and functioning through a central server, compete against every other VLT being played on the premises. That means, when you play your machine, you're competing against every other person inside Twin River who is playing a VLT at that moment.

The Massachusetts State Lottery has nothing to do with the slot machines that will be offered in Bay State casinos and a slot parlor. Those slot machines will be just like the machines at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. Each machine is independent of the other and each machine has software that only affects and impacts the machine you're playing.

In other words, in Massachusetts, it will be you versus that single machine. In Rhode Island, it's you and your machine versus everyone else playing in Twin River at that moment on their machines.

That's a fact no one at Twin River or Newport Grand wants the Rhode Island player to learn.

But Massachusetts and Rhode Island players will learn that as soon as the Bay State casinos and slot parlor begin advertising.

And when Twin River's spokeswoman has to answer the tough question: "Is it true slot machine odds at Massachusetts casinos and its slot parlor are better than the odds for those playing Rhode Island VLT's?" Patty Doyle will sound like a nervous and stammering Ralph Kramden, with his trademark "HUMMANNA, HUMMANNA, HUMMANNA...."

Or, as Dandy Don Meredith used to say on Monday Night Football, when one team was getting thoroughly crunched, such as that surely to happen to Rhode Island once the Massachusetts casinos and slot parlor open for business: "Turn out the lights ... the party's over."

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