State Gaming Commission Holds Firm on Boston Arbitration Deadline
Gaming licenses can be lucrative business anywhere in the country, but in a state that lacks any licensed casinos, their value becomes almost incalculable. With two proposed casinos in the process of applying for a license under Massachusetts’ current gaming laws, the State Gaming Commission is pushing both the applicants (Wynn Resorts and Mohegan Sun) and the city of Boston to supply proposed arbitrators to settle disputes over the expected impact the casino projects will have on communities in the state. Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh filed a ‘motion to stay’ last week, but the Commission does interpret that as an official request for an extension on the arbitration issue.
Complicating matters is a recent court decision allowing a referendum on gambling in the state to be added to the ballot in November. Walsh and supporters believe any gaming licenses should be delayed until the people of Massachusetts are allowed to voice their opinion on the referendum.
Despite the Mayor’s public stance of taking no action until the referendum, the Gaming Commission plans to proceed with the arbitration process, although they have also scheduled a hearing on Boston’s motion to stay licensing and will vote on the request.
A recent poll conducted in Massachusetts shows 46% of likely voters would vote to keep the current gaming laws in place. Supporters of the casinos believe that licensing should precede the vote so voters know precisely what the logistics of each project are before casting their votes.