A message to communities assessing potential impacts of an expanded gaming facility
Recently the Massachusetts Gaming Commission issued the following correspondence to communities who are geographically adjacent to the host community of a current gaming applicant. This information is available to any community currently assessing the possibility of impacts related to a possible gaming facility.
Your community is receiving this notice because it is geographically adjacent* to a community that is the host to a potential gaming establishment. Your community’s receipt of this notice does not mean that it will or will not be designated as a surrounding community by the applicant in its gaming application or that it will or will not be designated by the Commission as a result of any petition filed by a community to become a surrounding community. However, as the gaming application filing deadlines are soon approaching, the Commission again is urging applicants and communities that may potentially become a surrounding community to the proposed gaming establishment (“potential surrounding communities”) to engage in a dialogue as soon as practical about the potential positive and negative impacts that may result from the development of gaming facilities. This notice, albeit likely to be over-inclusive* in its reach to some communities, is meant to bring your community’s attention to pressing application deadlines and to provide contact information that may be helpful in encouraging further dialogue
Applications for the Category 2 gaming license (slots only) are due to the Commission on October 4, 2013. Applications for the Category 1 gaming licenses (full casino) in Region A (Eastern MA) and Region B (Western MA) are due to the Commission on December 31, 2013.
Applicants are required to submit agreements with surrounding communities, as defined by Massachusetts General Law chapter 23K, section 2 and the Commission’s regulations (e.g. 205 CMR 125.00) with their applications, or identify those communities that it believes to be a surrounding community. Given this requirement and the upcoming deadline dates, the Commission is providing your community with the following contact information of the applicant that is proposing to develop a gaming establishment in a community which is geographically adjacent to yours. If your community would like to learn more about the proposed facility, the applicant’s plans to assist communities understand and mitigate impacts, and the applicant’s plans to enter into agreements with surrounding communities, the Commission recommends that you contact:
GAMING APPLICANT/CONTACT INFO (Contact MassGaming Ombudsman’s Office for applicant contact information)
Further information about the host and surrounding community process can be found on this website, notably including its page dedicated to host and surrounding communities.
As noted on this Web site:
A Surrounding Community is a municipality in proximity to a host community that the Commission determines experiences or is likely to experience impacts from the development or operation of a gaming establishment. Under the Gaming Act, gaming applicants are required to submit “signed agreements between the surrounding communities and the applicant setting forth the conditions to have a gaming establishment located in proximity to the surrounding communities and documentation of public outreach to those surrounding communities.” The Commission recently promulgated a regulation further defining the term “surrounding community” for gaming applications and other purposes. In this regulation, the Commission further defines the factors it will use in determining which communities are “surrounding communities”, if such communities have not already been designated as surrounding communities in an applicant’s RFA-2 application. Applicants for gaming licenses have the primary responsibility for determining whether a community is a “surrounding community” to be included in its application. However, the Gaming Act establishes a procedure for the Commission to decide whether a community is a “surrounding community” even though the applicant has not included an agreement with that community in its RFA-2 application to the MGC. In the event an applicant has not been able to reach an agreement with a surrounding community prior to the RFA-2 application, the Gaming Act specifies that gaming applicants and surrounding communities will have thirty days to negotiate an agreement before the Commission implements protocols and procedures to ensure the conclusion of a fair and reasonable agreement.
Communities with questions about the Commission or about the process for being designated as a surrounding community may also contact the Commission’s Ombudsman, John Ziemba, at 617-979-8400, or at firstname.lastname@example.org .
*Please note that nothing in the Commission’s regulations or the Massachusetts General Laws limit surrounding communities to ones that are geographically adjacent to a host community. This notice is designed to be received by a larger group of communities than are likely to be designated as surrounding communities but may not include every community that may be so designated. This notice (generalized) will be posted on the Commission’s Web site to be available to all communities.
As always, thank you for your time and consideration.