What You Need To Know
- RFA-2 or Phase 2 gaming applications will be evaluated based on five key criteria to include: General Overview, Finance, Economic Development, Building and Site Design and Mitigation
- Each of the commissioners will oversee an evaluation team comprised of identified industry experts. Each of the five teams will conduct a thorough review process of one category of key evaluation criteria
- Public Input is invited and encouraged at several points along the systematic review process, including applicant presentations, public hearings, and host community meetings
- The Commission awarded the single slots-parlor license to Penn National Gaming on February 28, 2014.
- The Commission awarded the resort-casino license in Region B (Western Mass.) to MGM Springfield on June 13, 2014.
- The Commission awarded the resort-casino license in Region A (Eastern Mass.) to Wynn MA, LLC on September 17, 2014.
- The latest updates on the process for the resort-casino license in Region C (Southeastern Mass.) are available here.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission moves toward licensing of expanded gaming facilities in accordance with the “Expanded Gaming Act” passed by the Governor and Massachusetts Legislature in 2011. The Commission is dedicated to ensuring that these facilities will provide the greatest possible economic development benefits and revenues to the people of the Commonwealth. At the same time, the Commission works to reduce to the maximum extent possible the potentially negative or unintended consequences of the new facilities.
Five Key Criteria
Each of the five Commissioners will lead a team of industry experts to evaluate each gaming proposal based on more than 200 questions addressing the Commission’s key evaluation categories.
The five key evaluation criteria for gaming proposals include:
- Overview / General – What about this license applicant’s project will make the project unique in the industry, make it a unique destination, reinforce the Massachusetts-brand and positively impact the Commonwealth?
- Finance – Will the project meet the estimated revenue projections, does the proponent have suitable financing to complete the project and will they spend the required minimum investment?
- Economic Development – How the project maximizes a positive impact on area visitor attractions, supports small business in the region and creates viable and meaningful pathways for employment?
- Building And Site Design – Does the building meet requirements for energy efficiency, have a design that integrates itself into the community and meet permitting requirements?
- Mitigation – How does the proponent solve traffic problems, address problem gambling, minimize its impact on the Lottery and mitigate any problems with the host and surrounding communities?
STEP ONE. Each member of the Evaluation Teams will review each of the Applicant’s responses to questions pertaining to that member’s Category of questions.
STEP TWO. Each member will then confer with other members of that Evaluation Team and make a Summary Review of Questions Across Applicant, rating the quality of each Applicant’s responses to each question as either ‘Insufficient’, ‘Sufficient’, ‘Very Good’, or ‘Outstanding/Excellent’.
- Insufficient – Response failed to present a clear plan to address the topic, or failed to meet the minimum acceptable criteria of the Commission.
- Sufficient – Response provided was comprehensible and met the minimum acceptable criteria of the Commission; and/or provided the required or requested information.
- Very Good – Response was comprehensive, demonstrates credible experience and plans, and/or excels in some areas.
- Outstanding/Excellent – Response was of uniformly high quality, and demonstrates convincing experience, creative thinking, innovative plans and a substantially unique approach.
STEP THREE. Each Evaluation Team will then compile a Summary Review of Criteria across applicants.
STEP FOUR. This forms the basis for an Assessment of Category Across Applicants, which is delivered to each Commissioner for their review.
STEP FIVE. Finally, each Commissioner submits their findings in a Summary Evaluation, which forms the basis for their decision to award a license.
In keeping with the Commission’s effort to ensure a fair, transparent and participatory process, the Commission invites and encourages public participation at several steps in Phase 2 of the application process. The public has had the opportunity to address the Commission at several host and surrounding community meetings, and will continue to have the opportunity to participate as the Category 1 (resort-casino) licenses are awarded.
Tracking Public Sentiment
Evaluation team members will track the public comments by Applicant and by category and present the issues, general sense, and concerns of the public for each category to each Evaluation Team, as well as to the Commissioners.
Public Input Timeline
Public Input is encouraged from the Application due date until Commissioners close the Public Input period. The end of the Public Input period must be 30 days before the Commission awards a license.
The Commission awarded the Region B (Western Mass.) resort-casino license to MGM Springfield in June 2014. The Region A (Eastern Mass.) resort-casino license is scheduled to be awarded by September 2014. For Region C (Southeastern Mass.,) the Commission has received RFA-1 applications and has set a deadline of May 4, 2015 for additional materials for substantially complete RFA-1 appications. The Commission awarded the single slots-parlor license on February 28, 2014. In each case, the Commission is adhering to a deliberative multi-step method consistent with its mission of ensuring a fair, transparent, and participatory process. A detailed timeline of the licensing process can be found here.
Regulations governing the Phase 2 process are generally contained in sections 118.00 through 128.00. Find the regulations here.