A message from MassGaming regarding Surrounding Communities: MassGaming extends deadline for ‘surrounding community’ negotiations

On October 3, 2013, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, while in its bi-weekly open public meeting, voted to extend the deadline for communities to submit petitions to be designated as ‘surrounding communities’ for Category 2 (slots only) gaming applications.    The deadline has been extended to October 31.

The Commission anticipates that the allowance of additional time will be used by applicants and communities to reach surrounding community agreements.  The additional time can also be used by the parties to reach an understanding regarding the impacts resulting from gaming facilities, or an understanding of the lack of significant impacts, in some cases.

During the October 3 public meeting, the Commission also decided to host a briefing by the three Category 2 (slots only) applicants on the status of conversations with communities at its next meeting on October 17, to be followed by a public hearing held for each proposal in one of its surrounding communities and, later, any other measures the Commission thinks would help applicants and surrounding communities   reach appropriate agreements voluntarily.  Communities and citizens wishing to provide comments on the status of surrounding community discussions may do so at these public hearings, that will be scheduled soon after the October 17 commission meeting.   Prior to and after the public hearings, citizens and communities may provide written comments to the Commission via email at mgccomments@state.ma.us with ‘Surrounding Community’ in the subject line.

The intent of these measures is to facilitate communication between the applicants and surrounding communities, and to keep the Commission fully abreast of the status of those negotiations .  These actions are a result of measures advanced by the Commission at a prior open meeting and requests submitted by a number of Category 2 communities and at least one applicant to extend the surrounding community petition deadline.

Finally, the Commission noted that communities and Category 1 (resort casino) applicants are also facing significant time pressures.    Soon after the commencement of the Category 2 reviews, the Commission will ask Category 1 applicants to appear before the Commission to provide an update regarding their communications with communities.   This too will also hopefully facilitate greater understandings between applicants and communities.

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