From Commissioner Bruce Stebbins: MassGaming establishes a ‘Vendor Advisory Team’ to assist local entrepreneurs to successfully prepare for casino gaming

stebbinsprofileThroughout the Expanded Gaming Act of 2011, there is considerable focus given to one of the statute’s key priorities.  That priority is for any casino licensee to have a strong and positive impact on small businesses including those certified as owned and operated by women, minorities and veterans.  Since April 2012 when the Massachusetts Gaming Commission began work, one of the consistent messages that we have heard from communities and residents is whether we have confidence that casino applicants will keep the promises and goals that they define for small business in their applications to pursue a gaming license.

The commission felt it was important to find avenues of support for our eventual licensees to meet these goals and not simply stand by and wait for them to falter.  The Commonwealth would certainly offer assistance to any other business seeking to expand operations in Massachusetts.  Our casino applicants deserve no less if we truly wish for them to meet the economic development goals of the statute and create a robust gaming environment.

One of the commission’s strategic steps to meet this outcome was to hire a director whose focus is to support our casino licensees to meet their workforce, supplier and diversity needs.  To the best of our knowledge, other jurisdictions have hired key staff to monitor a casino operator’s success but no one has hired an individual to look at avenues to support this new industry to Massachusetts.  Our director, Jill Griffin, is actively working with local chambers and other business development agencies from across the state to support small business opportunities with our licensees.  In organizing our MGC Vendor Advisory Team, we are drawing on the staff, resources and expertise of statewide and federal organizations to help our licensees identify potential vendors, assist with the technical support for those small business owners to manage their expected growth and pursue financing options to help meet their needs to expand and satisfy contracts.  Our Vendor Resource Team has committed to offering this help and they have also engaged with the MGC to review our regulations and licensing requirements to make sure small businesses can comply.

We will regularly meet with this team to discuss programmatic needs and get their feedback on other issues as we focus on our licensees and their efforts to positively impact small businesses across Massachusetts.  Our special thanks to the members of our Vendor Advisory Team including Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Center for Women in Enterprise, Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council, General Services Administration- Small Business Procurement, Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, Massachusetts Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (MACCE), Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, Mass Development, Massachusetts Minority Contractors Association, Massachusetts Office for Access and Opportunity, Massachusetts Office of Business Development, Massachusetts Office of Energy Resources, Massachusetts Office of Small and Local Business, Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services, Mass Growth Capital Corporation, Massachusetts Gaming Diversity Coalition , Minority Business Development Agency- Boston Business Center , NAACP- New England Area Conference, National Federation of Independent Businesses , Massachusetts District Office-US Small Business Administration, Small Business Association of New England and the Urban League.

As Massachusetts prepares for casino gaming, we feel our Vendor Advisory Team is just one component to make sure that our licensees meet all of our expectations as we welcome this new industry to our state.

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