Massachusetts Gaming Commission Denies Boston Mayor’s Request For Delay

Explore:  Gambling Gaming

The Massachusetts Gaming Commissioners unanimously agreed that the competition for the only Boston-area casino license will push on.  On July 2, 2014, the Commission held a public hearing to discuss a request by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to delay the proceedings until after the vote in November on the casino-repeal ballot measure. Walsh sought the delay following the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling that the ballot measure to repeal the gaming law was constitutional. Walsh’s request also came the day after the Commission concluded public hearings on the Wynn and Mohegan Sun casino proposals. 

Mayor Walsh argued that the voters should have the opportunity to vote on whether they want the casino law to remain in effect at all. In his original request to the Commission on June 26, 2014, he noted that if proceedings continue and  “voters choose to repeal the law, all parties involved will risk losing significant time and millions of dollars for nothing.” Specifically, Boston city attorneys argued that negotiating contracts with the two casinos would constitute a huge expenditure, when voters could simply repeal the law in just a few months. Walsh unilaterally called off talks with the casinos until after the Commission’s ruling on his request for postponement because of his concerns about the cost of negotiations.   

After hours of testimony from both sides, the Commission denied the mayor’s request. In reaching this conclusion, Commissioner James McHugh said, “I think that it is not appropriate at this stage to grant a stay, but instead it is appropriate to move forward and proceed with our licensing process.” Continuing with the licensing process was characterized by Commissioner Gayle Cameron as “the prudent way to proceed.” Commissioners noted that area residents should be fully informed about where the casino will be built prior to voting on the repeal.

In response to the Commission’s decision, Mayor Walsh said that a postponement would have been “an opportunity for us to save the taxpayers a lot of money here and . . . to have a real discussion around what the voters of Massachusetts want.” Walsh claims that, ultimately, he was not surprised by Commission’s decision. 

As it stands, Commissioners anticipate a decision on the license by late August or early September 2014. In addition, the Commission released a revised timeline for casino proposals, which sets a deadline of July 30, 2014 for submission of the arbitration report between the City of Boston and the two casino license applicants.


Written by:

Published In:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Goodwin Procter LLP | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.