What You Need to Know
- The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has received an RFA-2 or Phase 2 application for the resort-casino license in Region C (Southeastern Mass). from Mass Gaming & Entertainment.
- Penn National Gaming opened the state’s single slots-parlor, Plainridge Park Casino, to the public on June 24, 2015.
- The Commission awarded the resort-casino license for Region B (Western Mass.) to MGM Springfield on June 13, 2014.
- The Commission awarded the resort-casino license for Region A (Eastern Mass.) to Wynn MA, LLC on September 17, 2014.
Category 1 License (Region C)
The Commission has established the following approximate time frame for the licensing process for its Category 1 (resort-casino) license in Region C (Southeastern Mass.):
- May 4, 2015 is the deadline for submission by applicants of a substantially complete Request for Applications – RFA-1 (Phase 1) application.
The RFA-1 application is the first part of a two-stage application process (described in more detail at the following link: RFA-1 and RFA-2 applications
- May 4, 2015 – September 30, 2015
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. The Commission’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) will make a recommendation whether applicants have been deemed suitable to submit an RFA-2 application. The timetable will include a 2½ month period within which applicants may appeal negative findings by the IEB to the Commission.
- September 30, 2015
This is the deadline for applicants to submit their full site specific RFA-2 license applications. 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.
- January to March 2016
Review of RFA-2 applications by the Commission, and final selection of licensees. In this period applicants will conclude arbitration with surrounding communities and impacted live entertainment venues.
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.
The RFA-1 and RFA-2 process for Region C will follow the same structure as the process used for Regions A (Eastern Mass.), Region B (Western Mass.), as well as for the Category 2 (slots-parlor) license.