Gambling companies face Friday deadline to apply for final Massachusetts resort casino license

A deadline is approaching for applicants interested in vying for Massachusetts' final resort casino license.

Applicants must submit by 5 p.m. on Friday detailed financial information about the business group that will develop the proposed project, including tax returns, financial holding, debts, principal investors and officers and more to continue in the multi-step process. Principal owners and officials involved with the project must submit detailed personal information to regulators, including financial and criminal history.

Applicants also must pay a $400,000 non-refundable application fee to defray costs of the commission's extensive investigation into the background of each prospective applicant, which must pass the background check and be deemed "suitable" to continue to the next phase of the application process, which focuses on the project proposal.

The final casino license is designated for the southeastern portion of the state and includes the cities of Fall River, New Bedford and Cape Cod.

A handful of groups have so far expressed interest in applying, but it is unclear how many will follow through. The gaming commission says it will not provide an update until after Friday's deadline passes. Regulators have delayed the application process a number of times to generate greater interest.

KG Urban Enterprises, a New York-based real estate development firm, has already filed its initial application for a casino on a former power plant site on New Bedford's waterfront. Other possible applicants include Mass Gaming & Entertainment, an affiliate of Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming; Seafan Trust Corp. and Somerset on the Move.

The southeast region is generally regarded as the least desirable of the state's regional casino licenses because of the region's relatively weak economy and competition from area casinos.

Twin River casino is just over the state line in Lincoln, Rhode Island, and the Mashpee Wampanoags are seeking a federal tribal reservation in Taunton, Massachusetts, where they hope to build a resort casino that does not require a state license.

The state Gaming Commission already has awarded two resort casino licenses: one to Wynn for a $1.6 billion development in Everett, just north of Boston, and another to MGM for an $800 million casino in downtown Springfield in western Massachusetts.

Regulators also have awarded Penn National Gaming a slot parlor license for the harness racing facility it's expanding in Plainville.