The Massachusetts Gaming Commission Holds its First Meeting

The newly composed, five member Massachusetts Gaming Commission convened for its inaugural meeting on April 10, 2012. The good news – the Commission selected experienced gaming consultants to assist it in developing a plan for staffing, budgeting and administration of casino gaming in Massachusetts. The bad news – the Gaming Commission does not expect to award the casino licenses until 2014 at the earliest. That means no operating casinos in Massachusetts for three to five years. Massachusetts’s gaming law gives the Gaming Commission the power to permit up to three full resort casinos, one each in the Greater Boston area (Region A: Suffolk, Middlesex, Essex, Norfolk and Worcester counties); southeastern Massachusetts (Region B: Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, Nantucket and Dukes counties); and western Massachusetts (Region C: Hampshire, Hampden, Franklin and Berkshire counties). The law also permits licensing of a single slots facility, not required to be in any particular region. The Commission released a schedule whereby bids for casinos could be released next year and applicants would get three to six months to respond. The Gaming Commission anticipates taking three to six months to evaluate the bids, meaning bids will likely not be awarded until 2014 at the earliest.