By Josh Resnek
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has given an OK to Encore’s development of an entertainment venue seating thousands and a new parking garage that holds 2,300 cars.
It also approved the pedestrian bridge that Encore wishes to build over the highway
in order to connect the new entertainment venue and parking garage with the mother load, the casino and hotel.
These approvals mark just the beginning of what is most likely to follow for the next five to ten years, which is, massive development in a long abused portion of the city running down to the Mystic River.
At a virtual MGC hearing Friday, the MGC showed its power to do as it pleases, whenever it pleases, in order to give the casino and hotel, et al, all of what it needs to re-main one of the largest investments with private capital ever made in the state’s long history.
The meeting and what it reveals about the powers of the MGC should serve as a tutorial to those who believe Encore cannot do as it pleases, when it wants, every time.
The only caveat for Encore would be to suggest new investments that simply do not make sense or fail to rise to the standard required by the MGC for approval.
Bottom line, as the commission attorney said last week, the MGC is given broad powers to do as it pleases.
That is not an exact quote, rather, it is the implied meaning of what the commission was told.
“The commission can include or exclude at will,” said the attorney.
The ultimate question about whether or not the proposed development on East Broadway as sought by Encore was allow- able was contained int the answer to the question – could it be considered part of the gaming establishment or a variation thereof?
Would conditions need to be placed on the license with this new development proposal?
Was this a yes or no regulatory question?
Does an establishment across the street connected by the pedestrian walk constitute an abridgment of the Host deal signed by the city of Everett?
Can the casino conduct concerts inside the casino auditorium?
Of any size?
If the development across the street is not owned directly by the casino can it be considered to be part of the whole?
A hundred lawyers working every day for a year could not have pierced in any way the decision of the MGC last week.
It is a lesson learned for all of us, including those attorneys who believe they can get a point in edgewise with the MGC.