Foxwoods announcing interest in pursuing Fall River casino

The Foxwoods partnership that failed to win voters' support last year for a $1 billion resort casino plan in Milford, Mass., will announce today that it is interested in pursuing a $750 million project somewhere in the city of Fall River, a spokesman for the Fall River mayor said Monday.

Scott Butera, chief executive officer of the Foxwoods Massachusetts partnership, and David Nunes, the partnership's chief operating officer, were scheduled to attend a 10 a.m. press conference with Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan, the spokesman said.

Butera, in an email message, confirmed he will be in Fall River today.

Flanagan told The Herald News of Fall River that the casino developers would invest $750 million in a casino project that would include a 140,000-square-foot gaming floor, about 20 restaurants, a 350-room hotel, a "name brand" shopping mall, an entertainment arena, a convention center and a spa.

No site for the casino has been selected.

The project - a commercial venture - would be a candidate for the one southeastern Massachusetts casino license the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is expected to award at some point. The Bay State's 2011 expanded-gambling law specified that the region be set aside for a tribal casino, provided a federally recognized tribe was able to win federal approval of a project within a specified time frame.

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has proposed a $1 billion project for Taunton but the federal government has yet to approve the taking of land into trust for the project.

KG Urban Enterprises has also proposed a commercial project in the region in the event no tribal project materializes. It has proposed a casino in New Bedford.

Foxwoods Massachusetts' Milford project, a candidate for the one Greater Boston license to be awarded, was soundly defeated in a Nov. 19 referendum.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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