Alert September 18, 2012

Update: Massachusetts Gaming Commission Holds Weekly Meeting

On September 18, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission convened another public meeting, which was attended by a member of Goodwin Procter’s Gaming, Gambling & Sweepstakes Practice. This week’s highlights included:

Springfield schedule and process

  • The Commission received a letter from Kevin Kennedy, the head of Planning and Economic Development for Springfield, noting that they reconsidered their process and have agreed to ensure that any applicant considered by them is a formal applicant and, more importantly, that they will not have a referendum on a host community agreement or selectee until the Commission has completed its vetting process of the applicant.
  • The commissioners discussed the power the gaming statute gives the Commission versus local communities regarding the selection process. Commissioner McHugh suggested that it is fairly clear to him that the Commission has the ultimate role in making decisions, although local communities should have a large role as well. There is murkiness with regard to the decision making process itself and what role the Commission has in directing that. Chairman Crosby noted that it is important the Commission ensures that local communities adhere to a very high standard of transparency and integrity.

Administration

Executive Director and Additional Hire Search

  • Chairman Crosby stated that all searches are underway. The Commission recently released the job posting for Deputy Director for the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau.
  • One candidate for this position will be recommended to the Commission for approval by commissioners McHugh and Cameron.

Finance and Budget

  • Plainville has an applicant that has paid $400,000. It will be able to access $50,000 of that money for the costs of mitigating the agreement process. The Commission will undertake drafting a process instructing communities how they can be reimbursed for these monies.

Racing Division

Operations Update

  • There will be hearings regarding applications for racetrack licensure on October 18 at 10 a.m. in Plainville.
  • Going forward, the Commission will be working with a paralegal or attorney to ensure that Suffolk Downs is in compliance with EPA regulations

 

Project Work Plan

Consultant status report

  • The Consultants delivered a 491-page draft of the strategic plan last week. The Commission’s feedback will be incorporated over the next few weeks.
  • Chairman Crosby noted that they remain on schedule to release background check forms as part of the RFA-1 process on October 12-14. The commissioners believe that applicants will have 90 days to return the forms.
  • The commissioners discussed the idea of drafting the strategic plan to allow granting licenses to different regions at different times, and, as part and parcel of this, releasing regulations for Phase 2 in a sequential or staggered way.
  • Concern was expressed about host communities voting on an applicant whose documents do not comply with the regulations that the Commission ultimately promulgates.
  • Commissioner Zuniga thinks that it would be wise to release Phase 2 regulations as soon as they are decided (as opposed to until all regulations are finalized) so that applicants may consider them in their applications.

“Wall Street” Project

  • Commissioner Zuniga has been conducting an RFI process consisting of talking to people who are potentially qualified to help the Commission put together a document aimed at fostering more involvement from the financial community.

 

Public Education and Information

  • The Commission has met with their website and logo development company and that development is ongoing. There will likely be a public meeting regarding website and logo design.
  • The Commission discussed the importance of letting people know basic requirements that will need to be met to be employed by a casino. As a first step, it will be crucial to make community colleges and other entities that might provide casino training aware of these requirements so that they do not accept unqualified individuals into these programs.
  • There were 170 people signed up for the Diversity and Inclusion forum scheduled for September 19.
  • The AIA is looking into energy-efficient building designs for casino facilities.

 

Research Agenda

  • The RFI soliciting research proposals is to be issued on September 19. It will stay posted for three or four weeks.

The next meeting will be on September 25 at 1 p.m., at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St., Room 150, Boston, Mass.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Those interested in learning more about Goodwin Procter’s gaming and gambling expertise and practice, and/or the issues outlined above, should contact David Apfel or Bob Crawford, co-chairs of Goodwin Procter’s Gaming, Gambling & Sweepstakes Practice.