SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

January 30, 2013

A winning idea?

Tourism, business leaders think slots parlor 'would be good for the North Shore'

(Continued)

“It’s a positive, but it does take away from a few other recreational opportunities,” he said.

Movie theaters and taverns might see a short-term hit in terms of competition, but in the long run, he thinks all businesses will benefit. For example, he notes, a Walmart will often be located near a Target; the discount retailers like to be near one another as a draw to customers.

“If I’m a mall operator or someone who has a store in there, I’m liking the news,” Lutts said.

Who might be drawn to a Danvers slots parlor? Gamblers will go, but some seniors might look at Danvers as a desirable place to live, providing a boost to area retirement centers, he said.

Danvers officials are in early talks with representatives of PPE Casino Resorts MA, an affiliate of The Cordish Companies, a Baltimore-based real estate development firm, about the possibility of a slots parlor at the mall. From a developer’s perspective, Danvers might be attractive because of its easy access, a town where Interstate 95 and routes 1 and 128 meet.

But the proposal has already sparked some concerns about traffic, public safety and whether the mall site is suitable.

Oosthoek is especially interested in what breakfast keynote speaker Thomas Glynn, the CEO and executive director of Massport, has to say regarding what kind of road improvements might take place if Suffolk Downs is awarded a gaming license.

Oosthoek said a new casino might actually help alleviate traffic, because under the state’s Gaming Act, casino developers are required to mitigate the impact of their projects, and that could mean new road projects for the area. Much of the concern about a casino at Suffolk Downs centers on the ability of North Shore commuters to get in and out of Boston, and particularly to and from Logan Airport, something that can be difficult to do now.

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