UPDATE: Region A resort-casino application evaluation process
- The final Region A category 1 (resort-casino) license conditions are posted at the bottom of this entry.
Beginning on September 8th, 2014 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, the members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission presented their reviews of the category 1 RFA-2 applications submitted by Mohegan Sun Massachusetts for a proposal in Revere, and by Wynn MA for a proposal in Everett.
The information presented on this page will lead to public deliberations and ultimately result in the determination of the recipient of the Region A (Eastern Massachusetts) resort-casino license.
Each of the four Commissioners has taken the lead on overseeing a group of advisers and industry experts to evaluate each gaming proposal based the Commission’s key evaluation categories including: Finance, Mitigation, Economic Development, and Building & Site Design. The Commission as a whole have presented their findings on General / Overview criteria and will rate each application as a Commission.
These final steps of the ‘Evaluation Process’ are being conducted in an open, public manner consistent with the Commission’s mission statement of creating a fair, transparent, and participatory process for the arrival of expanded gaming.
To view the Meeting Archives for the evaluation and deliberations, including transcripts and video, please click here.
For a further explanation of the evaluation presentations, deliberation, and determination process, please watch the following video:
Phase 2 Applications
Below please find the public portions of the Phase 2 application submissions.
Summaries of each Commissioners’ findings are posted below, accompanied by links to the full presentations.
Mohegan Sun Massachusetts – SUFFICIENT / VERY GOOD
The Applicant responded well to Criteria 1, 3 and 4 and adequately to Criterion 2. It proposes a resort casino, estimated to cost $570 million, that is contemporary and the building conﬁguration and material choices are consistently sensitive to its surroundings. The overall design is suggestive of the resort legacy for which Revere Beach is renowned. The Applicant has recognized the need to create an exterior that is understated with respect to massing, materials, fenestration, lighting, and site circulation. In deference to its partially residential context, the project’s edges pull back from the bordering streets and reinforce the distinct inward focus of the development. Its southwestern entrance and porte cochere direct customer and service vehicles onto the site away from residential streets. Its two hotels towers, (one 3‐star, one 4‐star) are relatively low proﬁle with gently curved footprints and exterior treatments that visually break up the volume. The building program is well thought out with a quality of proposed ﬁnishes comparable to Mohegan Sun’s facilities in Connecticut. The Applicant is committed to pursue LEED Gold Certiﬁcation. The design incorporates sustainability features and commits to 20% of its electricity via on‐site generation of renewable energy and purchase of Renewable Energy Certiﬁcates (RECs). Other features include a robust sustainability education program; an aggressive water conservation program; and a cleanup of Sales Creek with enhanced landscaping features.
Mohegan Sun proposes traﬃc management and mitigation measures are that are complete and workable. The site is accessible to the larger roadway network at three locations, and two vehicular entrances/exits are provided for on-‐site patron parking. Mohegan Sun has developed two alternatives for improving traﬃc ﬂow along Route 1A and both improve conditions at the Boardman Street intersection. Mohegan Sun takes advantage of its proximity to MBTA’s Blue Line Beachmont Station with an attractive and prominent pedestrian entry at the site’s northeast corner. Also the Applicant will enhance the station which, when coupled with the proximate casino entrance, will stimulate use of public transit.
The design approach ﬁts well with the site and adjacent neighborhoods, is attractively styled, and demonstrates its compatibility with surroundings. It could be further enhanced by opening the casino level to the racetrack with added fenestration and perhaps terraces for dining. Though conﬁgured sensitively with respect to its neighbors, the experiential connection to nearby Revere Beach could be more carefully developed to reach its full potential.
Wynn MA – SUFFICIENT
The Applicant responded adequately to well on three of the ﬁrst four Criteria but less than adequately on Criterion 3, primarily because of its treatment of Sullivan Square. Wynn has chosen to redevelop a heavily contaminated waterfront site formerly occupied by a chemical manufacturer and currently barred from public use and enjoyment. Wynn proposes to clean up the site; dredge the river; create a richly landscaped open space welcoming public use; and complete the link to the Mystic River Reservation. The proposal conforms to the Everett Municipal Harbor Plan and the Lower Broadway District Urban Renewal Plan and will be a potential catalyst for a changing waterfront. The resort (aside from site cleanup) is estimated to cost $1 billion.
The design emphasizes the luxury market featuring a 5-star hotel and amenities consistent with the Wynn brand. It adapts to its site – the building occupies a majority of the site while still allowing for continuous open space along the waterfront. An attractive retail galleria extends into the southern part of the site with a 365‐foot hotel tower on the north side above the casino ﬂoor, all above a four‐level underground garage. The waterfront galleria references European civic buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries. But the hotel tower is stylistically diﬀerent from and unrelated to the base’s traditional detailing. Moreover, the tower does not have the innovative energy characteristic of Wynn’s Las Vegas hotels and of the best new construction in the Boston region. This is a particular concern for a building that will occupy such a prominent place on the Boston Area skyline. The project will be LEED Gold certiﬁable and demonstrates compliance with sustainability goals and use of renewable electricity sources (10%) via on-site generation and RECs. Wynn addresses transportation issues with varying degrees of detail. The project site will be served by a single main driveway with a secondary driveway for service vehicles and employee shuttles. Patrons will access the garage through a single entrance/exit. The Wynn proposed traﬃc mitigation measures are adequate except at Sullivan Square, projected to carry about two‐thirds of the project’s traﬃc. The proposed near-term improvements at Sullivan Square are incompletely developed because the mitigation does not address the eastern or northern portions of the rotary, and deﬁcient primarily due to interferences created by traﬃc queuing at several closely spaced intersections. There is uncertainty about the design, funding, and timing of a long‐term solution at Sullivan Square and Wynn has not committed to participate in its design or construction. The Application does cite proximity to public transportation and proposes use of shuttle busses plus its own water shuttles connecting with downtown locations.
The choice of the site, the toxic cleanup, and revitalization of the area represent a positive outcome for Everett but an undramatic hotel tower architecturally inconsistent with the building’s base and the incomplete and deﬁcient mitigation plans for Sullivan Square downgrade this rating.
- Full Report
- Appendices: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
- Recommended Conditions
- Recommended Conditions – UPDATE
Mohegan Sun Massachusetts – SUFFICIENT
The Applicant submitted a comprehensible proposal. They demonstrated that they have access to funds necessary to develop and operate their proposed casino project. There is consistency (alignment) among Investment, Market and Operations plans submitted. The proposed project is predominantly focused on penetrating the available market area in Eastern Massachusetts and into New Hampshire. This market focus however is not consistent with why the State decided to limit the number of casino licenses permitted and impose a low gaming tax rate/minimum investment threshold. Further it does not recognize the potential market opportunity of a Region A location.
While the Applicant has demonstrated the necessary financial capability to develop and operate their proposed complex, its funding plan is complex (i.e. multiple parties with investment in and operational responsibilities for various project components) and by some measures highly leveraged. This complexity will likely reduce the degree of flexibility that the Applicant requires to efficiently (including timing) and effectively respond to marketplace changes that will likely occur over the term of the license, including immediately after opening.
Overall, Revere/Mohegan’s proposal is sufficient with one insufficient element, namely their view of the potential market opportunity of a Region A location.
Wynn MA – VERY GOOD / OUTSTANDING
The Applicant submitted a comprehensive proposal and provided credible plans based on its experience in operating casino complexes in highly competitive markets and focused on penetrating “high-‐end” market segments (i.e. local, regional and international). This market focus (specifically out-‐of-state and international component) is consistent with why the State decided to limit the number of casino licenses permitted and impose a low gaming tax rate and minimum investment threshold. Further, it recognizes the potential market opportunity of a Region A location.
The Applicant has demonstrated the necessary financial capability to develop and operate its proposed complex. The funding plan is straightforward and there is consistency among Investment, Market and Operations plans submitted. The Applicant will directly operate virtually all complex components. Third party operators will be limited to non‐core complex components (i.e. retail) and/or will be incorporated in the complex if they are deemed to add market appeal (e.g. a “Michelin Star” restaurant). The financial strength of the Applicant (including the amount of equity committed to the project and the complex operational governance model chosen) provide the project with the needed flexibility to efficiently (including timing) and effectively respond to marketplace changes that will likely occur over the term of the license, including immediately after opening.
Overall, Wynn’s proposal is very good with outstanding elements, namely the ability to obtain project capital, commitment to spend (materially more) required capital and their view of the potential market opportunity of a Region A location.
Mohegan Sun Massachusetts – SUFFICIENT / VERY GOOD
Mohegan Sun Massachusetts (MSM) has taken a serious, proactive approach with extensive public outreach and solicitation of community support. The Applicant had a short time in which to introduce itself to the citizens and the surrounding communities; it has done so vigorously with help from Sterling Suffolk Racecourse where the casino will be located. The Applicant succeeded in two Host Community referenda in Revere; though there was significant opposition to the Applicant’s proposed project and site relocation from East Boston residents. The Applicant has reached agreements with all surrounding communities and has offered generous annual payments in each case.
The Applicant has committed to constructing transportation improvements at numerous locations to mitigate their offsite impacts, encourage alternate modes of transportation, and improve deficiencies in the existing transportation system. The mitigation proposed adequately addresses proposed impacts.
MSM provided comprehensive responses and analysis of the potential impacts to housing, schools, and emergency services, and has committed the appropriate levels of mitigation to address impacts. MSM has made a commitment to address problem gambling and promote responsible gaming in their Responsible Gaming Plan.
The Applicant has a demonstrated history of addressing responsible gaming and supporting problem gambling research and awareness. MSM has confirmed their understanding of the complexity of problem gaming and proposes an adequate mitigation plan.
The Applicant has executed a formal agreement with the MA State Lottery Commission. Lottery officials confirmed that they appreciated the Applicant’s attention to this matter.
Wynn MA – INSUFFICIENT / SUFFICIENT
Wynn conducted a comprehensive outreach effort to the host community and received the highest percentage vote of any Host Community referendum in the Commonwealth. Wynn partnered with a range of local, regional community and non‐profit organizations and reached Surrounding Community Agreements (SCA) with all communities except Boston. In cases where there were unlikely to be direct impacts, Wynn entered into nearby community agreements.
Wynn has committed to the design and construction of transportation improvements at various locations; most of the proposed measures will mitigate their traffic‐related impacts, improve existing deficiencies in the transportation system, and encourage the use of alternate modes of transportation. The proposed mitigation at Sullivan Square is inadequate and incomplete, because the proposed improvements do not fully mitigate the additional traffic. The Applicant provided minimal information on impacts to housing and school populations.
Wynn has agreed to comply with the MGC regulations under development and industry standards for Responsible gaming, and problem gambling; but there was no evidence of a commitment to exceed those standards. The Applicant has expressed a clear intention to assist the MGC with establishing regulations and policies in the areas of problem gambling and responsible gaming.
The Applicant is actively negotiating, but has not yet executed a formal agreement with the MA State Lottery Commission. Lottery officials confirmed that they have met with Wynn representatives and expect that an agreement can be completed.
Mohegan Sun Massachusetts – SUFFICIENT / VERY GOOD
Applicant proposes to create 2,538 FTE jobs with annual payroll (including benefits) of $107.5 million in Year 5.
Applicant demonstrated understanding of workforce development needs and employee career pathways. Applicant has targeted workforce training initiatives through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Metropolitan Career Center Computer Technology Institute (MCCCTI), demonstrating an awareness of the workforce landscape in Massachusetts. The Applicant provided detail on training and development initiatives (e.g., orientation, leadership training, and supervisor training) and intends to provide a strong benefits package at an average of 46.2% of wages/salaries per Full Time Equivalent (FTE) (includes: medical/dental, employee meals, 401k, tuition reimbursement, vacation). Applicant detailed their experience with diversity in hiring practices (41% minority companywide, with almost equal representation of male/female). However, Job creation projections and associated payroll, while good, are less impactful than Wynn for both construction and operations.
Applicant provided a description of the vendor outreach process (e.g., vendor database, community outreach events, job forums, vendor forums, trade shows) and process for contracting for goods and services (i.e., face to face meetings, Vendor Licensing Specialist on staff), as well as identifying local businesses (about 400) with whom the Applicant has targeted for partnership arrangements through the Momentum Rewards program.
Applicant has detailed pre‐construction activity that demonstrates intent with respect to MBE/WBE/VBE, with a diversity plan, established partnerships, and detailed plans to ensure participation.
Applicant identified the significant economic benefits a gaming facility could have on the Host Community (and surrounding area) through employment/payroll, purchasing of goods and services and visitation to the area from casino visitors. However, overall projected impacts are less than Wynn.
Applicant demonstrated intention to cross‐market with local partners and already has a number of agreements in place with local entities (e.g., Citi Center, Milford Performing Arts Center (MPAC), about 400 local businesses). Applicant identified a number of initiatives to pursue for cross‐marketing with local tourism (e.g., Greater Boston Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (GBCVB), North of Boston CVB, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA)) to target conventions/meetings markets and targeting internationals). Applicant identified international marketing targets (e.g., China, Thailand, Turkey, Malaysia, Visiting Friends & Relatives (VFR), high end gamers) and intent to capitalize on the proximate location of Logan Airport as well as identified partnerships to pursue international market (e.g., Attract China, Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT), MassPort). However, projections indicate nominal visits from outside immediate region.
Wynn MA – VERY GOOD
Applicant proposes to create 3,287 FTE jobs with an annual payroll (including benefits) of $186.4 million in Year 5.
Applicant demonstrated understanding of workforce development needs and employee career pathways. Applicant has targeted workforce training initiatives through MOU with Bunker Hill Community College (MCCCTI). The Applicant provided detail on training and development initiatives (e.g., orientation, leadership training, and skills training). Benefit package at an average of 25.0% of wages/salaries per FTE is less than Mohegan, however, Wynn has not factored in anticipated contributions to union healthcare. Applicant detailed their experience with diversity in hiring practices (62% minority and 46.2% women at Wynn/Encore Las Vegas). Job creation projections and associated payroll are significantly greater for both construction and operations.
Applicant provided description of the vendor outreach process (e.g., vendor fairs, introduction between local distributors and manufacturers, local business education, local Chambers) and process for contracting for goods and services (i.e., “first and last look”, alliance with Initiative for Competitive Inner City) as well as identifying a number of local businesses with whom the Applicant intends to target for partnership arrangements.
Applicant has identified a contractor with a history of MBE/WBE/VBE participation. Diversity plan, detailed initiatives/plans and pre-construction activity supports targets.
Applicant identified the significant economic benefits a gaming facility could have on the Host Community (and surrounding area) through employment/payroll, purchasing of goods and services and visitation to the area from casino visitors.
Applicant demonstrated intention to cross‐market with local partners and already has a number of agreements in place with local entities (e.g. TD Garden, Boston Symphony Orchestra). Applicant provided detail on cross‐marketing initiatives for a number of identified tourism partners (e.g., Greater Boston CVB, MassPort, MOTT) to target conventions/meetings markets and targeting internationals. Applicant identified international marketing targets (e.g., Asian high end gamers, China, VFR) and plans to leverage their 32 affiliated international marketing offices and 8 international marketing offices to increase cross‐market play. However, no detail provided on how the international offices would be used to drive visitation.
Mohegan Sun Massachusetts – VERY GOOD
Wynn MA – VERY GOOD / OUTSTANDING
Material Objection Letters
Mohegan Sun Massachusetts