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Massachusetts Gaming Commission

What is the Commission’s mission?

The mission of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is to create a fair, transparent and participatory process for implementing the expanded gaming law passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in November 2011. In creating that process, the Commission will strive to ensure that that its decision-making and regulatory systems engender the confidence of the public participants, and that they provide the greatest possible economic development benefits and revenues to the people of the Commonwealth, reduce to the maximum possible extent possible the potentially negative or unintended consequences of the new legislation, and allow an appropriate return on investment for gaming providers that assures the operation of casino-resorts of the highest quality.

What are the Commission’s responsibilities?

The Commission is responsible for developing and managing the process to select, license, oversee, and regulate all expanded gaming facilities in the Commonwealth.  To accomplish this, the Commission must build an administrative infrastructure; hire staff; retain appropriate legal and gaming advisors; draft and adopt strict ethics rules to govern the conduct of commissioners and staff; develop the criteria upon which casino proposals will be selected; select the proposals that best serve the public interest; and then regulate casino operators, to help them maintain their financial stability, minimize negative consequences, assure the integrity of the gaming system, and return revenues to the Commonwealth.

The Commission’s regulatory responsibilities will be supported in part by a new Division of Gaming Enforcement within the Office of the Attorney General and new enforcement units within the Massachusetts State Police and the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

Who will regulate casinos?

The law provides for the establishment of The Massachusetts Gaming Commission, an independent Commission made up of five members who serve full time.  The chairman is appointed by the Governor; one member is appointed by the Attorney General (whose appointee must have a background in criminal investigations and law enforcement); and one member is chosen by the State Treasurer (whose appointee must be proficient in corporate finance and securities).  The remaining two commissioners are appointed by a majority vote of the same three constitutional officers.
The five appointees to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission are:

  • Stephen P. Crosby , Chair (on leave from his position as dean of the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston);
  • Gayle Cameron (retired New Jersey State Police Lieutenant Colonel);
  • Lloyd Macdonald (former Superior Court judge);
  • Bruce Stebbins (most recently, business development administrator for the City of Springfield); and
  • Enrique Zuniga (most recently, executive director of the Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust)

The terms and salaries of the commissioners are set by law.  The commissioners serve staggered terms or until their successor is appointed; commissioners may be reappointed but no commissioner may serve longer than ten years.  The chairman’s salary is set at $150,000 per year; the salary of the remaining commissioners at $112,500.

What facilities are licensed and regulated by the Gaming Commission?

The law gives the Gaming Commission the power to permit up to three full resort-casinos, one each in Eastern Massachusetts (Region A: Suffolk, Middlesex, Essex, Norfolk and Worcester counties); Western Massachusetts (Region B: Hampshire, Hampden, Franklin and Berkshire counties); and Southeastern Massachusetts (Region C: Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, Nantucket and Dukes counties.)

MGC_Map_small

The law also permits licensing of a single slots facility, not pegged to any particular region.

  • The Commission awarded the slots-parlor license to Penn National Gaming on February 28, 2014. Plainridge Park Casino opened to the public on June 24, 2015.
  • The Commission awarded the resort-casino license in Region A to Wynn MA, LLC on September 17, 2014.
  • The Commission awarded the resort-casino license in Region B to MGM Springfield on June 13, 2014.
  • The Commission voted against awarding a commercial resort-casino license in Region C.

What is the timetable for licensing and building casinos?

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission was established in March 2012. The schedule discussed in this section is highly tentative, and is published only for the purpose of giving potential host and surrounding communities a general sense of schedule, with which they can assess the urgency of their need to comply with developers’ requests. These schedules are subject to change, and should not be relied on for any formal or legal action.

License Application Step
Latest Likely Date
Release of RFA-1 N/A
REGIONS A & B:
Applicants submission of completed RFA-1 (pre-qualifying phase, 3 months)
N/A
Release of RFA-2 to qualified applicants after Commission review of completed RFA-1 November 2013
REGIONS A & B:
Applicants submission of completed RFA-2; surrounding community agreements executed and host community agreements approved by referendum (3 months)
December 31, 2013
REGION A:
Commission selection of license
September 17, 2014
Region B:
Commission selection of license
June 13, 2014
REGION C:
Applicants’ submission of completed RFA-1
May 4, 2015
REGION C:
Applicants’ submission of completed RFA-2
September 30, 2015
REGION C:
Surrounding community agreements executed and host community agreements approved by referendum (3 months)
February 2016
REGION C:
Commission determination of license
April 2016
REGIONS A & B:
Estimated opening of resort-casinos
2018-2019

For a more detailed review of the overall schedule of activity leading up to the award of the available gaming licenses, please visit the Timeline page.

What is the application process for casino developers?

First, an applicant will have to work with local officials of the host community to negotiate and agree upon the terms of a site specific proposal. The applicant is required to negotiate with neighboring communities to ensure that the proposal takes into consideration and mitigates the impact that such a development would have on neighboring communities. The site specific proposal must be approved by the host community through a town referendum or, if in a large city, a referendum of the voters who reside in the particular ward.

The applicant would then respond to a Request for Proposals, issued by the Gaming Commission, for the particular region into which the host community falls.

The applicant would have to meet the criteria set forth in the RFP, which will include but will not be limited to: financial capacity to build and sustain a successful operation; job creation information including a commitment to workforce diversity; mitigation measures to soften any negative impact on local businesses and tourism enterprise; and mitigation measures to reduce the impact of crime, gambling addiction, and other inevitable but unintended consequences.

All applicants and their financial backers will also have to undergo an examination of their qualifications, their experience in the gaming industry, and thorough background checks. The application forms are available here.

What fees and investments will be required of casino developers?

The process described below is only for use by the general public to get a broad idea of the process. All interested parties should rely on chapter 194 and the Commission’s RFP for clear direction in the application process.

Each developer licensed to operate a resort casino is required to pay the Commonwealth a one-time licensing fee of not less than $85 million.  They are also required to invest a minimum of not less than $500 million in their gaming establishment. The Gaming Commission is authorized to set the actual fee and the actual minimum investment for each region as part of its request for proposals. Resort-casinos will be taxed at a rate of 25 percent of gross gaming revenue.

For the slots-parlor, the licensee will be required to pay a one-time fee of not less than $25 million; the required investment is not less than $125 million and the licensee will be taxed at 49 percent of gross gaming revenue.

What does the expanded gaming law say about Native American casinos?

The Expanded Gaming Act provided a window until July 31, 2012 for the Governor to negotiate and the Legislature to approve a “compact” with one or more Indian tribes for the right to operate a casino in Southeastern Massachusetts.

On July 30, 2012, with the approval of the Legislature, the Governor signed a compact with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. The Compact was returned to the Governor’s Office from the U.S. Department of Interior and was renegotiated.

On March 20, 2013, Governor Deval Patrick and Chairman Cedric Cromwell announced that a gaming Compact between the Commonwealth and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe had been signed. This compact has since been approved by the U.S. Department of Interior.

On September 18, 2015, the United States Department of the Interior approved the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s application for land-in-trust, including 151 acres in Taunton approved for gaming use.

On March 15, 2016, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe presented the Massachusetts Gaming Commission with plans regarding First Light Casino and Resort in Taunton.

On April 5, 2016, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe broke ground on the First Light Casino and Resort in Taunton.

On July 28, 2016, in the case Littlefield et al. vs. United States Department of Interior, a judge in U.S. District Court ruled that the Department of Interior did not have the authority to approve the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s application for land-in-trust.

At a time deemed appropriate, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will engage in a public discussion to further our review of what course of action will be in the short and long-term best interests of Southeastern Mass. and the Commonwealth.

How will the Commission keep the public informed of and involved in the regulatory process?

The Commission is committed to going about its work in as transparent and open a process as is feasible.  To involve and hear from the public in the most effective and meaningful ways, the Commission holds frequent open meetings often available via live stream on the Commission’s website. In addition, the Commission maintains accessible meeting minutes and will hold hearings statewide to seek public input and ideas and to hear concerns.

In our effort to increase transparency, the Commission has implemented various ways for our constituents to easily locate important information and to also stay up-to-date with the Commission’s latest news. We welcome and encourage the public to visit our website at website mass.gov/gaming or send your feedback and inquiries to mgccomments@state.ma.us. Community members are also invited to connect and share with us on Twitter (@MassGamingComm), or Facebook (www.facebook.com/MAGamingComm).

Casino and Slots-Parlor Development

Where will the casinos be built?

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has issued the single slots-parlor license to Penn National Gaming, which operates Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has issued the Western Massachusetts resort-casino license to MGM Springfield, and the Eastern Massachusetts resort-casino license to Wynn MA, LLC for a proposal in Everett.

For more information on each gaming facility, please visit:

When will the casinos open?

Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville opened to the public June 24, 2015.

MGM Springfield is expected to open in 2018.

Wynn Boston Harbor is expected to open in 2018.

Jobs and Opportunities

How many jobs will the casinos provide?

Resort casino operators have estimated that each category 1 casino will provide 2,500 to 4,000 permanent jobs. During the construction phase of each resort-casino project it is anticipated that 1,000 to 4,000 jobs are to be created.

The category 2 slots-parlor has added more than 600 jobs, in addition to having created 300 construction jobs.

What types of jobs will be available?

In addition to the table game jobs like blackjack dealer, pit boss, croupier, and poker dealer needed in a category 1, resort-casino – there are slot attendants and technicians as well as numerous supervisory and management jobs. There are jobs in surveillance, security, and numerous accounting jobs from cashier to comptroller. The hotel will require a full staff including housekeepers, valets, bell hops, desk clerks, spa attendants, a health club manager, pool supervisor and many more. Food and beverage operations will employ even more as preparers, cooks, chefs, servers, bus persons, stockers, bartenders, and banquet managers. Retail stores will need sales clerks and managers. A facilities department will keep the whole operation running with a janitorial staff, plumbers, carpenters, painters, electricians, and HVAC techs. There will also be a need for a marketing department and an administrative staff as well. Casinos usually provide job openings on their websites.

To find out about employment opportunities at Plainridge Park Casino, please click here.

When will resort-casino construction jobs become available?

Category 2, slots-parlor

The following links are to third-party web sites not under the control of the MGC.  MGC is not responsible for the contents of any linked site and is providing these links only as a convenience.

To find out about employment opportunities at Plainridge Park Casino, please click here.

To find out about opportunities for vendors at Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, please click here.

Category 1, resort-casinos

Information on construction jobs and hiring may be available on casino developer, local union or construction employer websites. Additional information will be available at the local OneStop and Career Centers and from community-based organizations.

To find out about construction opportunities with MGM Springfield, please click here.

To find out about construction opportunities with Wynn Boston Harbor in Everett, please click here.

How many people are anticipated to apply to fill the resort-casino jobs?

It is estimated that 7,000 to 12,000 or more people will apply to fill the jobs at each resort-casino. Another 1,200 to 2,000 people could apply to fill the jobs in the slots-parlor.

Which skills will be required to get these jobs? How can I get these skills?

With such a wide range of jobs will be available, there will have to be a wide range of training opportunities. Right now colleges and Universities in the region offer programs in accounting, IT, business, and casino and hotel management that will prepare people for jobs in the casino. Food service, culinary arts and hospitality programs are widely offered by community colleges in Massachusetts. But, in order to increase the skills training opportunities for Massachusetts residents, the presidents of all the community colleges in Massachusetts have joined together to form the Massachusetts Casino Careers Training Institute. The institute will work directly with casino operators to provide all the needed training for the required skills through community colleges across Massachusetts. Further, there may be private trade schools that open for business in the future.

Will the casinos be required to consider diversity in hiring?

The Gaming Act established job creation and the development of a diverse workforce as one of its primary objectives. In determining whether an applicant shall receive a gaming license, the Commission will evaluate how the applicant proposes to establish, fund and maintain human resource hiring and training practices that promote the development of a skilled and diverse workforce, and how each applicant proposes to implement a workforce development plan that incorporates an affirmative action program of equal opportunity by which the applicant guarantees to provide equal employment opportunities to all employees qualified for licensure in all employment categories, including persons with
disabilities, under the laws of Massachusetts.

Will job opportunities be available if I have a high school education or GED?

Yes, many jobs will require a minimum of a high school diploma or a GED. Job opportunities with advanced skills requirements will require more formal education and experience. It is projected that 60% to 70% of the jobs will require a maximum of a high school or GED level of education. A list of jobs and educational attainment will be posted on the MCCTI website in the future.

Licensing and Registration

What should I be thinking about as I complete the MGC licensing or registration process?

Always be truthful and complete in the Licensing or Registration application. It is important to note that there may be information required by the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau as a law enforcement agency that an employer is not entitled to see. A licensing application is not the same as a job application.

Would a sealed or juvenile record be considered for a licensing or registration determination?

An individual is not required to disclose the existence of a sealed record when filling out the MGC application or registration form, as a sealed record will not be considered by the MGC for purposes of making a determination on the individual’s overall suitability for licensure.  An individual is required to disclose juvenile charges, which may be considered by the MGC in determining the individual’s overall suitability; however a juvenile finding of delinquency is not viewed by the MGC as a “conviction” and will not lead to automatic disqualification.

I have a criminal record. Is it possible that I can register as a Gaming Service Employee or be registered as a Gaming Employee?

Yes.  One of the primary objectives of the gaming law is to provide employment opportunities in the Commonwealth. While the Gaming Act identifies felony convictions or other convictions involving fraud or theft as matters of particular concern, an individual with one of these convictions that is more than 10 years old has the opportunity to demonstrate rehabilitation.  It is very important for you to be completely honest when completing the MGC license or registration form.  Being untruthful is grounds for disqualification.

As an employee, how do I register or get licensed by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission?

Once you have been offered a job by a casino, Human Resources will assist you with getting the process started. You will need to fill out an application form, have your fingerprints and photograph taken, and potentially provide additional documentation. Gathering this information can, in some cases, take some time so it is best to understand all of the requirements in detail before starting. Your future employer’s Human Resources, along with the MGC Division of Licensing are available to help. Additionally, you can find detailed information (including copies of the application forms) online at: massgaming.com/casinoemployees.

Do I have to register with, or get licensed by, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in order to work at a casino?

Everyone who is employed at a casino in Massachusetts has to be licensed by or register with the MGC. There are essentially three levels of registration / licensure (Gaming Service Employee, Gaming Employee, Key Gaming Employee) and the level of registration or licensure required depends on the job that the individual will perform at the casino. The amount of information requested in the licensing process and the scope of the subsequent background investigation is proportional to the responsibilities and access of the given position.

Who needs to be licensed by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission?

The Expanded Gaming Act requires that anyone who works for or conducts business with a gaming establishment must be licensed or registered.

It is up to the Gaming Commission to ensure that everyone involved in the industry meet the requirements of good character and honesty.

Job applicants and vendors must submit the requisite forms based on the category for employment or opportunity. For more information on which category a prospective employee or vendor fits into, please visit the following pages: Employees | Vendors

The forms may be printed, completed, and sent to the following:

Division of Licensing
Massachusetts Gaming Commission
101 Federal Street, 12th Floor
Boston, MA, 02110

What is a non-gaming vendor?

A non-gaming vendor is a business that offers to a gaming establishment or gaming licensee goods and/or services which are not directly related to gaming.

Some examples of non-gaming vendors include food purveyors, linen suppliers, garbage handlers, limousine service companies, and suppliers of alcoholic beverages.

Every non-gaming vendor must register with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission via the forms located here prior to conducting business with a gaming licensee in Massachusetts.

Non-gaming vendor applicants must meet the statutory requirements of good character, honesty, and integrity in order to become a registrant.

If I do business with more than one gaming establishment, do I have to register with the Commission more than once?

No, being registered with the Commission as a non-gaming vendor authorizes you to offer goods and/or services not directly related to gaming to all gaming establishments in Massachusetts.

I’m a registered vendor with the Commonwealth. Do I need to register to work with a casino?

Yes. All vendors seeking to do business with a gaming establishment must register with the Commission.

Do I need to register if I am a subcontractor to the General Contractor who is building the gaming establishment?

No. Subcontractors are not required to register, but will fill out information forms directly with the General Contractor.

Is there a threshold of gross sales that I am allowed as a non-gaming vendor registrant?

Yes. As a non-gaming vendor registrant, if your gross sales are over $250,000 in a twelve-month period with any one gaming licensee or your gross sales are over $100,000 in a three-month period with any one gaming licensee, you may be required to file an application for licensure as a gaming vendor secondary pursuant to 205 CMR 131.04(1)(b).

Host and Surrounding Communities

What is a Host Community?

A Host Community is defined by statute as the municipality in which a gaming establishment will be located. A proposed Host Community must negotiate a ‘Host Community Agreement’ with a resort-casino license applicant, and the agreement must be approved by referendum.

What is a Surrounding Community?

A Surrounding Community is a community that will be impacted by a resort-casino in a nearby municipality. A Surrounding Community may be defined by some or all of the following characteristics: a shared border with the Host Community, proximity to the Host Community and/or the gaming facility, impacts on transportation, environment, water and sewer systems, local businesses, and social service needs.

A Surrounding Community designation can be reached in the following ways:

  • A casino license applicant and a community can reach a Surrounding Community agreement before the applicant submits its RFA-2 application
  • A casino license applicant can designate a community as a Surrounding Community in its RFA-2 application, with an executed agreement to follow
  • A community not designated as part of the RFA-2 application can petition the Commission for Surrounding Community status. The Commission will consider the petition and make a determination

What benefits does a Surrounding Community receive?

A Surrounding Community is entitled to a Surrounding Community Agreement, negotiated between the municipality’s governing body and the casino license applicant. The Agreement is meant to offset impacts from a nearby casino. A Surrounding Community is entitled to receive notices and participate in public hearings on the casino proposal. A Surrounding Community’s impacts are taken into account when the Commission deliberates on the award of a casino license.

What benefits does a community receive if it is not a Host or Surrounding Community?

A community that does not receive Host or Surrounding Community status may still be eligible for funding to offset unforeseen or unforeseeable impacts. 6.5% of Category 1 gross gaming revenues, as well as 10% of the initial Category 1 license fee are set aside in a Community Mitigation Fund for this purpose. The Commission will evaluate claims for funds each year.

Responsible Gaming

What is PlayMyWay?

PlayMyWay, a simple way to personalize your play, is now available at Plainridge Park Casino. This new and innovative budgeting tool is an exclusive offer for Marquee Rewards ® members. And it’s entirely voluntary.

Enrolling in PlayMyWay is simple! Just insert your Marquee Rewards ® Card into a slot machine or other electronic gaming device. You’ll be given the option to enroll on the spot or to decline.

Once you’re enrolled, you’ll get automatic notifications after you approach 50%, 75%, and 100% of the budget you’ve set for daily, weekly, or monthly spending.

You can choose to stop at any point or keep playing.

You can also enroll, adjust your budget, or un-enroll in PlayMyWay from any game, at the GameSense Info Center, or at a GameSense Kiosk.

First time enrollees in PlayMyWay also receive a one-time $5 food credit that can be used at any food vendor at Plainridge Park Casino.

What is Responsible Gaming?

Responsible gaming is the provision of gambling services in a way that seeks to minimize the harm to customers and the community associated with gambling.

What is MassGaming doing to promote responsible gaming?

Responsible gaming is the provision of gambling services in a way that seeks to minimize the harm to customers and the community associated with gambling.

GameSense

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has adopted GameSense, an innovative and comprehensive Responsible Gaming strategy, as part of its mission to encourage responsible play and mitigate problem gambling. GameSense combines recommendations on responsible gaming techniques with interactive tools and exhibits meant to engage patrons at Massachusetts casino gaming facilities and online at GameSenseMA.com.

Each gaming establishment is required by statute to provide on-site space (the GameSense Info Center) for player education. There, patrons can learn about myths associated with gambling, the odds of the games they are playing, take a break, and seek support from a GameSense Advisor. The Commission is working with casino operators to ensure that responsible gaming signage and information is available to direct patrons to the GameSense Info Center.

Voluntary Self-Exclusion

As required by statute, Voluntary Self-Exclusion is available to assist patrons who recognize they have experienced a loss of control over their gambling and wish to invoke external controls. The program enables participants to voluntarily exclude themselves from all Massachusetts gaming venues for a pre-determined length of time.

PlayMyWay

MassGaming has introduced PlayMyWay, a first-of-its-kind pilot budgeting program. PlayMyWay is a budgeting tool is designed to allow customers the ability to monitor the amount they spend on electronic gaming machines, and to support their decision to continue or stop play. A first-of-its-kind initiative, this pilot program is part of a comprehensive and innovative approach to responsible gaming strategies, with a particular focus on problem gambling prevention and customer protection practices.

What is Problem Gambling?

Problem gambling is characterized by gambling behavior which leads to a continuum of adverse consequences for the gambler, others, and the community.

What resources are there for those with a gambling problem?

Problem gambling is characterized by gambling behavior which leads to a continuum of adverse consequences for the gambler, others, and the community. If you or someone you know needs immediate help with a potential gambling problem, call the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling Helpline – 24 hours – at 1.800.426.1234.

What is Voluntary Self-Exclusion?

As required by statute, a Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program is available to assist patrons who recognize they have experienced a loss of control over their gambling and wish to invoke external controls. The program enables participants to voluntarily exclude themselves from all Massachusetts gaming venues for a pre-determined length of time. For more information on Voluntary Self-Exclusion, please click here.

What is the Research Agenda?

In June 2015, a research team from the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at UMass Amherst released a comprehensive report of findings from a large baseline population survey that assessed Massachusetts residents’ attitudes about gambling, gambling participation, and gambling-related problems. Nearly 10,000 Massachusetts residents completed the survey, making it the largest and most representative gambling survey ever conducted in the United States. To read more about the research study’s findings, visit SEIGMA.

After the casinos open, the Commission will conduct a follow-up study to present a clear picture of the effect of gaming before and after the arrival of these facilities.

With this information, the Commission will be able to strategically plan and mitigate the negative impacts brought by gaming expansion.

What is the Public Health Trust Fund?

When fully endowed, a Public Health Trust Fund will have between $15 million and $20 million per year for services dedicated to addressing problems associated with gambling. These funds will be overseen jointly by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS). The trust fund will be endowed by a portion of the gaming license fees.

Horse Racing

What is the Division of Racing?

The Division of Racing is responsible for regulating the state’s horse racing industry and implementing M.G.L. Chapters 128A and 128C.  As such, the Division is delegated the power to prescribe rules, regulations and conditions under which all horse racing meetings shall be conducted in the Commonwealth.

What testing does the Division of Racing conduct?

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s Division of Racing is pleased to introduce a first-of-its-kind repository of equine drug testing information. The Commission contracts with a state-of-the-art laboratory that is ISO-17025 accredited (an international standard) and which recently achieved industry recognition as one of five equine drug testing laboratories accredited by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. Blood and urine samples are collected by our dedicated team of veterinarians and their assistants and screened for over 1,900 substances using instrumental analysis and ELISA testing. Furthermore, test results for regulated substances like anti-inflammatory medications and total carbon dioxide are posted on our website.

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