HLT assisted in determining the ability of each proposed project to maximize positive impacts within the host and surrounding communities.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission was charged with, among broader regulatory and oversight roles, selecting three Category One (full-service) casinos and one Category Two (slots only) casino in designated zones across the state. HLT was engaged to assist the Commission in the assessment of applications for both Category One and Category Two licences.
HLT focused on two of five central evaluation criteria—market/financial and economic impact—by assisting the finance and economic impact evaluation teams in reviewing and evaluating each Applicant’s submission. For the finance team, HLT completed a state-wide (and regional) market assessment to gauge visitation and revenue potential in addition to assessing the financial strength of each applicant, the applicants’ ability to obtain required capital, and whether the proposed project would meet the estimated revenue projections.
For the economic impact evaluation team, HLT assisted in determining the ability of each proposed project to maximize positive impacts within the host and surrounding communities. This included consideration of employment impacts (i.e., full-time vs. part-time, workforce and workforce development) as well as the degree of support for small businesses and regional tourism.
Once engaged on the market/finance and economic development aspects, HLT’s knowledge of the gaming industry was relied on to assist the Commission with various other operational issues including impact of withholding taxes, impacts of casinos on the State’s horseracing industry and consideration of how casino entertainment offerings might impact local/regional live entertainment venues.
The project resulted in the selection of Wynn Resorts for the Boston-area casino (a $1.6 billion project) and MGM for the full-service casino in Springfield ($800 million). The Commission also selected Penn National’s proposal to develop a slots parlour in Plainville ($225 million), which is scheduled to open in mid-2015.