Foxwoods Resort and Casino put what it thought to be an attractive offer on the table for members of a small town in Boston that was preparing to vote on accepting or rejecting the casino project. Millford, Massachusetts is a small suburb of close to 30,000 situated less than 50 miles south of Boston. The town met on Tuesday to consider a project backed by Foxwoods to put a casino right there in the middle of Milford’s small-town suburban environment. Once the smoke cleared, Foxwoods Resort and Casino looked around to find that the small-town Boston voters had said ‘No Dice’ to the $1 Billion project.
Foxwoods defeated proposal is not the first. Similar attempts to tap into the wide open Mass. gambling market have met with similar results from other companies efforts to tap the newly opened State gaming industry. A state law, passed in 2011, divided up the state into three regions which were approved for one resort-style casino each. There were also provisions made for one facility that would consist only of slot-machine gaming. Since this point, companies like Foxwoods Resort and Casino have been trying with relatively low success, to establish themselves in any one of the three regions.
Although the 2011 law created a new and attractive gaming market, it also came with complex rules and sets of voting and approval processes that have proven to be a bit more cumbersome than expected for interested companies. As a result of the latest voting in Milford, Foxwoods Resort and Casino chief executive Scott Butera disappointedly expressed to project supporters that the plan would not be moving forward. He acknowledged that the company was aware of significant opposition from the outset, and that it tried what it could to convince the residents of potential benefits, but ultimately was unsuccessful.
The town was divided in its perception of how the project might affect the future of Milford if accepted. Supporter argued that there would be valuable steady revenue provided, along with additional job opportunities that could stimulate the economic future of the town and provide long-term financial security. Opponents on the other hand highlighted issues revolving around additional traffic, crowding, increased crime rates, and the loss of property values.
Ultimately the town of 27,000 struck down the proposal in an emphatic near 2-to-1 outcome. The figures were 6,361 against, and 3,480 for the proposal. A leader of the opposition group called Casino-Free Milford stated, “Our town wasn’t for sale.”
This was yet another defeat for companies that have been attempting to lock up control of on of the attractive Mass. gambling regions. The eastern Massachusetts region, which Foxwoods Resort and Casino was sole competitor for, is thought to be the most promising of all three regions. This added to the disappointment of losing the project.
“It just wasn’t meant to be” stated Butera in response to the disappointing results. As companies like Foxwoods Resort and Casino, Mohegan Sun and others mourn however, members of anti-casino groups celebrate their recent victories.
There has been some slow progress made in the other two regions, along with some progress by a Native American tribe, but as concerning the Foxwoods Resort and Casino, Boston voters clearly and emphatically say ‘No Dice’, rejecting the $1 Billion project. The message from Milford has been heard loud and clear, “we are not for sale.”
By Daniel Worku