A proposal to build a casino near a major highway in the town of Somerset has gained some momentum in recent days with the addition of two well-known executives to its development team, but the proposal will need an extension of a deadline to remain in the competition.

The state Gaming Commission has made clear its desire to pick from two or more competing casino proposals when it awards the state’s only remaining license to operate a Las Vegas-styled casino.

Such a competition may produce the best possible casino for the Southeastern region, where unemployment is high, commission members have said.
But to get its wish, the Gaming Commission must again extend its deadline for two business groups to submit their initial applications to the commission. Both the Somerset group and a group proposing a casino on the New Bedford waterfront have missed several deadlines and are asking the commission for still more time.

The Somerset group now includes James Karam, a major developer in the Fall River area and former president of the University of Massachusetts board of trustees, and Scott Butera, who until last year was chief executive officer of Foxwoods Resort Casino, the Fall River Herald reported.

In a letter this week, the Somerset group, known as Crossroads Massachusetts, asked the Gaming Commission for a 21-day extension to allow it to recruit more investors.

Also asking for an extension is KG Urban Enterprises, which is proposing a $500 million casino on the New Bedford waterfront, to be operated by Foxwoods Resort Casino. In its letter, KG Urban asked for a 45-day extension to continue negotiating with New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell over a plan both parties support.

The Gaming Commission, which meets Thursday, previously extended the deadline twice.

A third group, Mass Gaming & Entertainment, has completed its application for the license with a proposal for a $650 million casino in Brockton.