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The Kraft Family, NFL Regulations and Casinos: A Curious Mix
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Looks like New England may get some new local gambling in the near future. As part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts plan to expand gaming in the state a lawyer for the Kraft Group has drafted a zoning change for the city of Foxborough over the simmer tat would allow for casinos to be added on property across from the Gillette Stadium.

The plans, which were recently submitted to the town’s manager, would allow one of the regions most powerful families to get in on the action and gamble on a new casino. Going one better the town manager also asked the lawyer for Kraft to draw up a proposal for the casino. That proposal was then brought to developers- though the mayor declined to name which developers it was being shown to.

  
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The interesting part is that it is the Krafts looking into it. Some of you may know them as the owners of the New England Patriots, and NFL team with an almost cult following of fans. As owners of an NFL franchise team they are prohibited by the NFL franchise contract from owning any casinos. The conflict of interests is obvious there. If you own a team the subtle pressure to encourage them to go the extra mile (or take a dive) when a game is heavily bet upon will always be there. It is easier to ban franchise owners now, then it is to explain to thousands of angry fans later on.

That being said, the state senate did approve a bill last week to allow three casinos and one slot-machine parlor to be built in the state. The house also passed a similar measure a few weeks back. The states governor has also expressed support for the idea of building a casino in the area, since this has the potential to bring new jobs, and revenue to the area.

That would not stop a company from buying the land near the stadium, if the Krafts were willing to sell, but a representative of the family says that they are not. “To date, that has not been an option,’’ Stacey James, a Kraft spokesman, said in an e-mail to a local journalist. “We have spent considerable time, energy, and financial resources trying to pursue a major commercial development. . . . The site has been shovel-ready for development for several years, and we will continue to seek large-scale development options that will generate thousands of jobs for this region.’’

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The Kraft family currently owns about 500 acres of land along Route 1 in Foxborough, giving them a number of choice for how to develop the land, should they choose to.

For now, the plans have been shelved thanks to hostilities from both the town Planning Board and the Board of Selectmen. Since local laws would require a vote on the issue before a casino would be allowed in to the land it might be a moot point anyway. New Englanders can be notoriously stubborn, and proud of it.





 

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