News broke on Friday that Massachusetts gaming regulators recommended that Caesars Entertainment be denied a gaming license due to a questionable business relationship. Caesars Entertainment and its Massachusetts partner Suffolk Downs terminated an agreement to develop a casino in the Boston area due to this finding by state regulators.
A German court filing alleged a Gansevoort investor had Russian organized crime ties, according to a New York Post article published in March 2012. Gansevoort adamantly denies any connections with any entity described in the NY Post article.
In an emailed statement to Bloomberg, Nancy Friedman, a spokeswoman for Gansevoort stated:
We expected a serious government agency to act on the basis of substantiated fact, not rumor or innuendo previously printed in gossip columns.
Gansevoort withdrew from its Las Vegas Strip partnership with Caesars Entertainment to prevent any more regulatory issues for the gaming giant, according to the same Bloomberg report.
Boston Magazine published a statement by Caesars Entertainment on Saturday:
Caesars Entertainment, which is licensed in more jurisdictions than any other gaming company, has decided to withdraw its application to develop a casino in Massachusetts. We believe the commission is attempting to set standards of suitability that are arbitrary, unreasonable, and inconsistent with those that exist in every other gaming jurisdiction.
Gansevoort Las Vegas was to be built on the northeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road. This was the former location of Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall. The site may be better known as Barbary Coast, which was the name of the property until Boyd Gaming sold it to the company that would later become Caesars Entertainment in 2005.
Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall closed in February 2013 to make way for the year-long transformation into Gansevoort. The advertised completion date for Gansevoort Las Vegas was January 2014. No announcement has been made about the future of the property or whether the loss of Gansevoort will delay construction or the grand opening of the hotel that currently does not have a name.
Vegas Chatter has an ongoing column about the transition from Bill’s to Gansevoort that includes numerous construction pictures and artist renderings. The process is well on its way to completion. The Las Vegas economy can only hope that this project does not stall due to loss of Gansevoort.
Decision May Affect Future Massachusetts Interactive Gaming Market
This could also be bad news for WSOP, a subsidiary of Caesars Interactive Entertainment. Language in the last Massachusetts internet gaming bill only allowed for three licenses. There are also only three commercial brick and mortar licenses allowed under present gaming law. While the interactive bill failed in the last legislative session, it may be representative of future attempts to legislate online gaming in the state where the number of internet licenses issued equals brick and mortar ones.