UPDATE: The Massachusetts Gaming Commission issues memorandum for consideration to the Legislature
Please NOTE: MassGaming has issued a revised version of this memorandum (located below) requesting that the legislature replace this memo for our earlier May 20 submission, and note the change in last sentence, first paragraph, listing all our competitor states that would be affected.
Over the past several months, applicants for casino and other parties have sought the Commission’s opinion in approaching the Legislature for changes to the gaming statute that they believe are desirable. The Commission undertook an in-depth review of all the requests and concluded that the vast majority did not require or warrant legislative action. In a memorandum recently filed with the Legislative leadership, the Commission analyzed each request, set out its reason for concluding that no legislative changes were needed for most, and stated its reasons for recommending only two of the requested changes.
- The Commission reiterated its recommendation that the Legislature adopt the Internal Revenue Service’s standards for tax reporting and withholding, including raising the withholding threshold to $1200. (Existing law calls for actual withholding taxes to be taken from any winnings of $600 or more). The Commission further recommended adoption of the $1200 standard for other requirements the statute imposes on licensees, such as the requirement to check for unpaid state taxes and child support before paying winnings. The Commission’s recommendations are based chiefly on the adverse competitive impact flowing from the $600 threshold that is out of step with virtually every other jurisdiction in the country.
- The Commission supported the position of many groups who have called for modification of the gaming law’s rigid CORI standards, stating that such groups have expressed grave concern that those standards would prevent employment of members of chronically underemployed groups the statute is designed to aid. The groups expressed particular concern with statutory provisions that would automatically prohibit employment in any capacity in any gaming establishment by those who had been convicted of offenses such as shoplifting or minor monetary offenses no matter how old the offense, the circumstances under which the offense occurred or the exemplary nature of the person’s behavior after the conviction. The Commission and the license applicants agreed that those standards for disqualification are unnecessarily rigid and are not required for protecting the integrity of the gaming process.
The Legislature and Governor gave the people of Massachusetts an outstanding gaming law, widely recognized as the most thoughtful and progressive in the country. That a law this comprehensive needs so little work in the way of adjustments is a testament to the care with which it was created.