Jilted in Iowa

By David McKee ~ April 18th, 2014 @ 12:35 pm No Comments »

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett is feeling like a swain who got stood up by his best girl. After the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission voted 4-1 against Cedar Crossing Casino, Corbett made a speedy exit from the room and was still stung several hours later: “We felt all along that they were encouraging us. Now we have a little bit of a feeling that we were misled.”

roncorbett470Corbett has a valid point to feel led on and perhaps falsely encouraged by the two-year application process. But the IRGC has the at least equally valid point that it has to be guided by what its market studies tell it — and the tale they told of Cedar Crossing was one of severe cannibalization. Heck, Cedar Crossing conceded as much by offering to share revenue with Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, but the latter’s CEO, Dan Kehl, wasn’t having any of it. It was spinach and to hell with it.

Kehl also  had some good advice for Cedar Crossing’s backers: Continued >>

Much ado about Massachusetts

By David McKee ~ April 18th, 2014 @ 11:59 am No Comments »

CrosbyStephen Crosby, phlegmatic chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, makes a very unlikely looking lightning rod. But such he has become. He’s already drawn the wrath of Gary Loveman and now Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh wants Crosby to recuse himself from all Beantown-related matters. According to Walsh, Crosby isn’t just prejudiced, he’s anti-Boston. “Taken together, the pending federal lawsuit [by Loveman], recent commission statements, current press articles, and the commissions’ own actions, create a cloud over the proceedings when Chairman Crosby participates,” wrote Elizabeth Dello Russo, Walsh’s lawyer.

martinjwalsh-headshotDello Russo also launched a preemptive strike at the commission’s forthcoming hearing on Boston’s eligibility to be a “host community.” “The Commission proposes no process for the City to obtain discovery from the applicants. It eliminates the City’s opportunity to call witnesses, to cross-examine witnesses and to create an appropriate evidentiary record that is subject to legal review,” Dello Russo vituperated. “It also fails to address the burden of proof and a mechanism to resolve factual disputes based on documentary submissions with no live testimony. In sum, the proposed procedure represents a thinly veiled attempt to ‘stack the deck’ against the City on the ‘host community’ issue …

Walsh is himself playing a dangerous game. He’s got a bird in the hand (surrounding-community status) but wants the two in the bush. Walsh can’t be so clueless as to know that putting the Wynn Resorts and Mohegan Sun proposals up to votes in Charlestown and East Boston, respectively, will surely Continued >>

Penn, Cordish kiss and make up

By David McKee ~ April 17th, 2014 @ 11:15 am No Comments »

Ann ArundelRemember when Cordish Gaming and Penn National Gaming were bitter rivals in Maryland (left) and more-cordial ones in Massachusetts? Well, that’s all so yesterday as the two are teaming up to get in on the New York State market. They’ve identified South Blooming Grove, in Orange County, as their site. It’s just off I-87, the major artery between the Five Boroughs and the Canadian border, which would put them closer to New York than any other applicant. No details are available other than it’s a $750 million, 120-acre project. Perhaps Blooming Grove residents will get the skinny when Penn and Cordish present their brainchild at a town meeting tonight.

They’re not stopping there, either. The two companies are also talking about partnering on a penn-national-gamingHollywood-branded casino in the Albany area. (Whether the state will give two out of four casino licenses to the same operator remains very much to be seen.) Right now, Continued >>

Double whammy in Iowa; Desperation in Illinois

By David McKee ~ April 17th, 2014 @ 10:27 am 2 Comments »

Iowa casino regulators took a strong stand in favor of the status quo, after playing it so cool they had expansion advocates fooled. Following the guidance of their own studies, they shot down the Cedar Crossing Casino project, citing its adverse economic impact on other Cedar Crossingcasinos in the area. Dissenting commissioner Dolores Mertz called for a “market-driven” casino industry in the Hawkeye State: “As a farmer, if I really believe that in agriculture, I’d be really remiss not to do that in gaming.” If they’re going to go to Nevada-style survival-of-the-fittest mode, they’ll need to go to a new process and set of criteria for approving casinos. As it is, the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission is charged with preserving the financial health of the industry and Cedar Crossing didn’t pass that test.

“Beyond dismayed.” That’s how Penn National Gaming expressed its reaction to the denial of its Argosy Sioux City supplication. Penn was appealing Continued >>

Further Reading

Jilted in Iowa

Much ado about Massachusetts

Penn, Cordish kiss and make up

Double whammy in Iowa; Desperation in Illinois

MGM’s sudden change of heart

Las Vegas, Wranglers both grounded

Self-delusion in Illinois; Grave-robbing at Penn project

Wynn Boston: Solution or overreach?

Cosmo: The right amount of money; MGM learns Arabic

Meet Geoff Freeman

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