Surprise and intrigue came late last Tuesday for those following the casino discussion, with one mysterious proposal from Chicago developer Neil Bluhm joining proposals by Las Vegas gaming magnate Steve Wynn, Suffolk Downs owners and an older proposal in Milford as Phase I casino license applicants in Greater Boston – each paying a $400,000 licensing fee to begin the quest for a Greater Boston (Region A) casino license.
There were four definitive proposals submitted for Region A, and one absolute surprise proposal from PPE Casino Resorts in Baltimore (The Cordish Companies) that had no specifics as to where it would go or what it was seeking. Ironically, Cordish is the same company that Suffolk Downs principle Richard Fields partnered with to develop his first major casino in Florida (Seminole Hard Rock).
Bluhm’s proposal is equally vague, though it is somewhat certain that his Chicago company – which has developed casinos in Philadelphia, Illinois and Mississippi – is looking at several Boston sites for a casino. Nevertheless, it was also supposed that they could be seeking the slots-only license as well, though that is unlikely. Bluhm is a major contributor and supporter of President Barack Obama.
The fourth applicant, David Nunes of Colorado, has apparently partnered with Warner Gaming for his long-standing proposal in Milford (which is in Greater Boston region), called Crossroads Massachusetts LLC. That proposal includes a $700 million development with a 300-room hotel just off of I-495. It has been quietly in play for nearly two years.
In the end, the deadline added up to far more competition than anyone expected, given that Suffolk Downs appeared to be the only game in town just a few months ago.
For this immediate area, the coming and going of the initial filing deadline for the first-ever casino gaming license has resulted in what appears to be two of the biggest international faces in expanded gaming – Fields and Wynn – preparing to do battle in the backyards of Revere, Boston and Everett with well defined plans.
A total of 11 companies filed applications by the deadline.