What you need to know

  • The Expanded Gaming Act created the Community Mitigation Fund to help entities offset costs related to the construction and operation of a gaming establishment.
  • The application period for the 2020 Community Mitigation Fund is now open, and applications are due by February 1, 2020.
  • The Community Mitigation Fund may be used to compensate for costs related to both Category 1 full casino facilities (MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor) and the state’s Category 2 slots-only facility (Plainridge Park Casino).

About the 2020 Community Mitigation Fund

The Massachusetts Legislature legalized casino gaming to produce broad-based economic development, including jobs and revenue.  To date, gaming tax revenue has exceeded $500 million, and the industry has created more than 12,000 construction jobs and thousands of operational jobs.  The Legislature also established an equally important mandate to mitigate unintended impacts associated with the arrival of casino gaming.  To that end, the law created the Community Mitigation Fund to support communities and governmental entities in offsetting costs related to the construction and operation of gaming facilities.

Since 2015, the MGC has issued approximately $16 million in funding to advance needs in transportation, non-transportation planning, workforce development and public safety for municipalities and government entities located in the vicinity of the casinos.

The gaming law established an annual deadline of February 1 for applications from municipalities seeking mitigation funds.

2020 Community Mitigation Fund Guidelines and Instructions

The application period for the 2020 Community Mitigation Fund is now open. Pursuant to the Expanded Gaming Act, applications for funds are annually due at the beginning of February [February 1, 2020].

The following application forms are meant for reference only. Applications must be submitted via COMMBUYS per the below instructions.

Further detail on this year’s program may be found in the Guidelines or by contacting John Ziemba in the Commission’s Ombudsman’s Office.

Mr. Ziemba can be reached at 617.979.8423 or via e-mail at john.s.ziemba@state.ma.us. The Commission’s address is 101 Federal Street, 12th Floor, Boston, MA 02110.

About the Funds

Reauthorization of the 2015/2016 One-time Reserves

Communities that received approval for 2015/2016 Reserves do not need to re-apply.  The 2015/2016 Reserve will automatically be preserved for use in 2020.  As described in the Guidelines, this Reserve may be used for impacts once they are determined (upon approval of the MGC).  The Reserve may be used to help communities plan how to avoid potential adverse impacts and how to best take advantage of the economic opportunities that may result from such facilities.  This Reserve will be disbursed by the MGC on a rolling basis after communities have time to determine, in consultation with the MGC, how best these funds should be used.  Communities can still apply for funds for specific impacts now and in future Community Mitigation funding rounds.  Communities may continue to access whatever portion of their original $100,000 Reserve amounts that remain unexpended.

Specific Impact Grants

The 2020 Community Mitigation Fund for mitigation of specific impacts may be used only to mitigate impacts that either has occurred or are occurring as of the February 1, 2020 application date.  In recognition that the Category 2 gaming facility in Plainville opened during the calendar year 2015, and MGM Springfield opened in 2018 and Encore Boston Harbor opened mid-2019, the MGC will make available funding to mitigate operational related impacts that are being experienced or were experienced from those facilities by the February 1, 2020 date.  The MGC has placed a per grant limit for the 2020 Specific Impact Awards of $500,000, subject to the request for waiver.

Incentive for Regional Cooperation

Last year, the MGC initiated the establishment of incentive funding (beyond the baseline amounts stated in the Guidelines) for applications involving more than one community.  These joint applications must specifically show the interrelationship of the communities in their endeavor.

Transportation Planning Grant

The 2020 Community Mitigation Fund program also authorizes communities to apply for a Transportation Planning Grant.  The communities that are eligible for a 2020 Transportation Planning Grant are those communities in Regions A & B and for the Category 2 facility, including each Category 1 and Category 2 host community, each designated surrounding community, each community which entered into a nearby community agreement with a licensee, any community that petitioned to be a surrounding community to a gaming licensee, and each community that is geographically adjacent to a host community in Regions A & B and to the Category 2 facility.  The MGC approved a target of $1,000,000 for the total allocation for 2020 Transportation Planning Grants with no more than $200,000 per grant authorized (plus potentially a regional incentive).

Workforce Development Programs in Region A and Region B – Regional Incentive

The MGC will make available funding for certain career pathways workforce development pilot programs in Regions A and B for service to residents of communities of such Regions, including each Category 1 host community and each designated surrounding community, each community which entered into a nearby community agreement with a licensee, any community that petitioned to be a surrounding community to a gaming licensee, and each community that is geographically adjacent to a host community.  In an effort to promote administrative efficiencies and greater regional cooperation, applicants that demonstrate cooperation of a significant number of workforce agencies in each region may be eligible for $50,000 in additional funding.  The Commission may also authorize an award of up to $100,000.00 for significant regional needs.

Non-Transportation Planning – Increase in Funding

The MGC shall make available funding for certain planning and technical assistance activities through Non-Transportation Planning Grants.  For 2020 the MGC increased the available funding from $50,000 to $100,000.  No application for this 2020 Non-Transportation Planning Grant shall exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000).  In the event that a Non-Transportation Planning Grant involves more than one community for the same planning project, applicants would be eligible for a Regional Planning Incentive Award.  Additional funding may be requested only for the costs of a joint project being proposed by more than one community, not similar projects. These planning funds will be available only to those communities that have allocated their One-time Reserve and received MGC approval for the use of the Reserves.  Any community applying for planning funds would also need to provide detail on what it will contribute to the planning projects such as in-kind services or planning funds.

Tribal Gaming Technical Assistance

Additionally, the MGC shall make available technical assistance funding to assist in the determination of potential impacts that may be experienced by communities in geographic proximity to the potential Tribal Gaming facility in Taunton.  Such funding will only be made available, after approval of any application by the Southeast Regional Planning & Economic Development District or a comparable regional entity, if it is determined by the MGC that construction of such a gaming facility will likely commence prior to or during Fiscal Year 2021.

Transportation Construction Project(s) Grant – New

The MGC will consider funding for the cost of the construction of transportation projects in the 2020 CMF.  The MGC intends that any CMF assistance provided will only be for a percentage of the costs of any such project and that significant other federal, state, local, private or other funding will be available to pay for the costs of any such project.  The MGC anticipates authorizing no more than $3,000,000 statewide and does not anticipate authorizing more than $1,000,000 for anyone award. Although the Commission has a $3,000,000 award target for this category of grants, the Commission has retained the ability in the Guidelines to increase this award amount and other award amounts.

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