Las Vegas gambling columnist no fan of Massachusetts

Casino industry titans have collectively slapped their foreheads in disbelief over the unfriendly reception Caesars Entertainment received from state investigators in Massachusetts.

That flabbergasted feeling has trickled down to Las Vegas Review-Journal gambling columnist Howard Stutz, who wonders if Massachusetts “might become nothing more [than] a second-rate gaming jurisdiction,” by scaring away the top operators with heavy-handed background investigations and regulations.

“Chances are none of Nevada’s major casino operators…will be involved in Massachusetts when the first hands of blackjack are dealt in 2016 0r 2017,” Stutz predicted, in a blistering column headlined “Bay State blunders.”

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Suffolk Downs last month dropped Caesars from its East Boston casino proposal after state investigators recommended Caesars be disqualified from bidding in Massachusetts. Investigators gave several reasons, such as the company’s enormous debt, but most of the attention fell on Caesars’ branding deal with a New York boutique hotel. An owner of the hotel group is allegedly linked to Russian mobsters.