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What You Need to Know

  • The Commission issued the single slots-parlor license to Penn National Gaming on February 28, 2014.
  • The Commission anticipates that the resort-casino license for Region B (Western Mass.) will be awarded in June 2014.
  • The Commission will soon issue more definitive timelines for the award of resort-casino licenses for Region A (Eastern Mass.) and Region C (Southeastern Mass.)

Timeline

The Commission has established the following approximate time frame for the licensing process for its Category 1 (resort-casino) licenses in Region A (Eastern MA), Region B (Western MA), and Region C (Southeastern MA):

Category 1 Licenses (Regions A&B)

  • January 15, 2013 was the deadline for submission by applicants of a completed Request for Applications – Phase 1 (RFA-1)

The RFA-1 application is the first part of a two-stage application process (described in more detail at the following link: Phase 1 Application for Category 1 License.)

  • January 15, 2013 to December 2013:

This is the period for the Commission to assess completed responses to the RFA-1 Application (background checks) and release a Request for Applications-Phase 2 (RFA-2) to successfully pre-qualified applicants. RFA-2 is the site-specific application that all applicants that pass the RFA-1 background check may submit. It is anticipated that the Commission’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) will make recommendations whether applicants have been deemed suitable to proceed to the RFA-2 process from early August to early September.  However, the timeframe includes a 2½ month period within which applicants may appeal negative findings by the IEB to the Commission.

  • October 2013 to December 31, 2013:

This is a 3-month period during which applicants submitted their full site-specific license applications, RFA-2.  The Commission has set December 31, 2013 as its Category 1 license application deadline for Regions A & B.  Applicants must sign agreements with host and any surrounding communities and have host community agreements approved by referendum no later than the end of this period.

  • December 2013 to June 2014 (Region B):

Commission reviews of any RFA-2 early filed (October 2013) and deadline filed (December 31, 2013) application, and makes final selection of licensees.  In this period, any arbitration with surrounding communities or impacted live entertainment venues will be concluded.

Accordingly, the range of time frames for the licensing process as presently envisioned by the Gaming Commission for Region B Category 1 licenses is as follows:

License Application Step Earliest Likely Date Latest Likely Date
Applicant submission of completed RFA-1 January 15, 2013 N/A
Release of RFA-2 to qualified applicants after Commission review of completed RFA-1 August 2013 December 2013
Host and Surrounding community agreements executed April 2013 May 2014
Host community agreements approved by referendum June 2013 March 2014
Applicant submission of completed RFA-2; October 2013 December 31, 2013
Commission selection of licensee(s) April 2014 June 2014 (with
surrounding community arbitration)

** The schedule for the award of the Region A license is currently pending.

Category 1 License (Regions C)

  • September 30, 2013 is the deadline for submission by applicants of a completed Request for Applications – Phase 1 (RFA-1) application.

The RFA-1 application is the first part of a two-stage application process  (described in more detail at the following link: Phase 1 Application for Category 1 License.)

  • September 30, 2013 to August 2014:

This is the projected period for the Commission to assess completed responses to the RFA-1 Application (background checks) and release a Request for Applications-Phase Two (RFA-2) to successfully pre-qualified applicants. RFA-2 will be the final site-specific application that all applicants that pass the RFA-1 background check may submit.  It is anticipated that the Commission’s IEB will make a recommendation whether applicants have been deemed suitable to proceed to the RFA-2 process by February 2014.  However, the timeframe includes a 2½ month period within which applicants may appeal negative findings by the IEB to the Commission.

  • Post suitability through September, October, November 2014:

This is a 4 month period during which applicants will submit their full site specific license applications, RFA-2.  The Commission anticipates a date from September to November 2014 as its Category 1 RFA-2 application deadline for Regions C.  No later than the end of this period, applicants must sign agreements with host and any surrounding communities and have host community agreements approved by referendum.

  • Post suitability to September, October,  November 2014:

Review of RFA-2 applications by the Commission, and final selection of licensees.  In this period applicants will conclude arbitrations with surrounding communities and impacted live entertainment venues.

Category 2 License

The Commission awarded the single slots-parlor license to Penn National Gaming on February 28, 2014. The schedule for the award of a Category 2 license was as follows:

License Application Step Earliest Likely Date Latest Likely Date
Applicant submission of completed RFA-1 January 15, 2013 N/A
Commission review of completed RFA-1 and release of RFA-2 to qualified applicants June 2013 September 2013
Host and Surrounding community agreements executed June 2013 August 2013 (October 2013 for Surrounding Community Agreements)
Host community agreements approved by referendum August 2013 October 2013
Applicant submission of completed RFA-2; August 2013 October 4, 2013
Commission selection of licensee(s) February 2014 February 2014

Timing of Negotiation of Category 1 And Category 2 License Community Agreements

A host or surrounding community agreement may be executed at any time by a community, providing that the execution is in conformity with local approval standards and procedures. Given that the application and permitting of a gaming facility is a complicated process, it is reasonable for applicants to request communities to engage in discussions and negotiations on host and surrounding community agreements as soon as possible. While the Commission has discussed the risks to communities of final execution of host or surrounding community agreements prior to the conclusion of the RFA-1 process, there is no requirement that execution of such agreements occur after such applicants have been deemed qualified by the Commission under the RFA-1 process.

 

Timing of a Category 1 or Category 2 License Referendum

Pursuant to the Gaming Act, host communities may not hold a referendum until after a host community agreement is executed and an applicant makes a request that the community schedule the referendum.

Also pursuant to the Gaming Act, the host community shall hold the referendum between sixty to ninety days after such request.

Please note that on December 19, 2013, the Commission granted Mohegan Sun a waiver on the required submission of the election certification with the final application. The City of Revere held a host community election on February 25, 2014.

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