Mass. Gaming Commission to Vote on Local Referendum Regulation

Current regulations prevent a vote until the investigation process is completed. This is a change in policy for the board which regulates Gambling in the Commonwealth. Last year, the body asked Springfield to slow down its process to select a casino developer and follow the Commission’s own timeline. Speaking in Springfield Wednesday, Gaming Commission Chair Stephen Crosby says the move is in response to feedback from cities and towns interested in hosting a casino.

“Several communities were particularly interested in speeding up the process. And a lot of the background work, the preliminary work, the getting of public permits, the talking to surrounding communities, all that needs to come after a referendum, so that the bidder knows for sure their not going to get kicked out by the host community.”

Crosby says both the developer and host community would be required to provide certain information to voters before a referendum.

“If that governing body agrees to organize with the bidder, an information campaign that explains to the people who are voting what we’re doing relative to the background checks and what could happen, the possibility that someone turns out to be not suitable, then we’ll permit them to go ahead and have the referendum.

A vote on a casino can only be held a minimum of 60-days after the host community and a developer have signed an agreement. Thursday’s Gaming Commission hearing is scheduled for 1PM at Pathfinder Vocational High School in Palmer.