As many of you are well aware, with the recent MA Casino gambling bill passing, there has been a tug of war between the powers-that-be for the Boston area Casino. In one corner you have New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who is teaming up with casino magnate Steve Wynn, for development of a casino on property owned by Kraft, across from Gillette Stadium in Foxboro along Route 1. On the other side, you have Boston Mayor Tom Menino, who would like there to be a Casino in East Boston, at the Suffolk Downs Horse Racing Venue. According to this article online, Mayor Menino is teaming up with Caesars Entertainment Corporation for the development of a potential Casino in East Boston. With the new Casino Bill only allowing 3 Casinos in MA, and its likely settled that there will be one in Western MA, another in New Bedford, this “metro Boston” area Casino is going to be a BIG fight. A big part of how everything goes down is where certain influential politicians come down on the issue, especially Senator Scott Brown – the lone high profile elected Republican politician, not related to the State Democrat Party Machine, that also happens to live about 6 miles from Gillette Stadium in a neighboring town to Foxboro. Senator Brown represented that area for over a decade as a State Rep and a State Senator – however he comes down on the issue, will it being in favor of the Kraft-Wynn Casino, or the East Boston Casino, it will be very influential on what happens. If he supports the Foxboro option- that will definitely kill off a lot of the opposition to it down in that area. If he comes out in favor of the Boston Casino (worried about a drop in his property value with a Foxboro Casino) that will only bolster the Foxboro anti-casino movement.
If I was a betting man, I am going to bet that he will come out in support of the Boston Casino because of these little nuggets that I came across and pieced together this morning, as the Caesars Entertainment Corp has made a move that will likely greatly influence Brown’s decision making in support of the Boston Casino. The NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers has just announced that they have signed Senator Scott Brown’s oldest daughter and former American Idol contestant, Ayla Brown, to a season long contract to sing the National Anthem at every one of their home games this season.
Now, you might ask, “Huh, that’s strange. Why would an NBA team in Philadelphia want to sign a Boston area semi-celebrity to sign the National Anthem for all their home games?” No one in Philadelphia knows who she is. She is not from the area. She was on American Idol over 6 years ago – no one is going to remember the 13th place finisher from 6 years ago. So, with her being the daughter of a US Senator, I quickly wondered, what kind of work is the new ownership group in? Signing the National Anthem for a few games is one thing, but for a whole season – when do you ever see that, aside from the Bruins with a guy they’ve had for over 30 years.It does not pass the smell test. I googled the ownership group’s names, and came across the two largest owners of of the team – Joshua Harris and David Blitzer. Harris is a managing partner with the Apollo Global Management and Blitzer is a Director with the Blackstone Group.
Further investigating into it, I come to find that Apollo Global Management and the Blackstone Group are in a joint venture called, Hamlet Holdings. Hamlet Holdings owns and operates Caesars Entertainment Corporation – the largest Gaming Company in the world, with revenues of $8.9 Billion in 2010.
That is right, the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers respective companies, Apollo and Blackstone, own the largest Gaming company in the world, and according to reports are interested in building a Casino in Boston – just came to a financial agreement with our Junior Senator’s daughter to sign the National Anthem at every 76ers home game this season. A Senator, whose eventual opinion on the matter, will have great influence on where the Casino gets built – Foxboro or Boston. I wish Ayla the best, as she has an amazing voice, and I’ve always liked her since being on American Idol. BUT, what troubles me is how Senator Brown can be easily seemingly influenced by something so small or even allows himself to be put into this type of position. All of this came out because I happened to come across the article on thehill.com and did a few google searches. Took me no more than 20 minutes.
The other BIG factor at play here, is that there will likely be lawsuits involved, resulting in delays in the building of the eventual winning Casino bid. If Scott Brown loses to Elizabeth Warren in 2012 for his US Senate re-election efforts – Scott Brown will be the hands down number 1 candidate on both sides to run for MA Governor in 2014. No doubt about it. We may not see it now, but 2014 might be more of a realistic idea of when it is decided who gets the casino, or at least when the building starts. After all, it is Massachusetts.