NAIOP just had its gaming program: Casinos Coming to Massachusetts: Spinning the Wheel – What this New Industry Means for the Commonwealth. The event attracted a large crowd and generated significant media coverage. It was the first program of its kind since the casino legislation was signed into law and it was the first public speaking opportunity for Steve Crosby, the Chairman-Designate of the newly established Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
During his presentation, Steve indicated that there were eight guiding principles that came out of the legislation:
- The public must have confidence in the selection and oversight process.
- There will not be a local referendum until there is a signed agreement with the casino operator/developer and the municipal leadership.
- Financial stability of the development must be proven.
- Lottery revenues need to be maintained.
- Job growth and economic development should be maximized.
- Small businesses and local tourism in the surrounding areas need to be protected.
- Revenues must be generated for the Commonwealth.
- Any potential negative consequences should be mitigated.
Steve sees this as a great opportunity to leverage what might be a $2-4 billion private investment into the Commonwealth for the public good. He also hopes that the individual project designs will enhance the culture, social values, and history of the local areas.
Finally, he pointed out that the Commission was just created. Four other members still need to be selected and an executive director needs to be hired before they can even begin establishing regulations and rules, or issue requests for proposals. He guessed that it would take 12-18 months to accomplish all of that with another 6-9 months, at the earliest, before an initial decision on a specific project could be made. The exception to that might be the one slot parlor, which could be on a faster track.
So, casinos are coming, but just not this year!