• News

    Casino cash heading to Bay State communities

    November 19, 2014

    BOSTON — Millions of dollars in gambling money will begin flowing into local government coffers in earnest now that the state’s casino law survived an Election Day repeal effort.

    In western Massachusetts, MGM Resorts International is expected to make its first payments to Springfield under the host community agreement negotiated for its proposed $800 million development in downtown.

    Among the payments expected in the coming weeks is $150,000 toward a public pavilion at Franconia Golf Course and a $1 million community grant to help cover early education initiatives, library improvements, public safety training and more, according to MGM spokeswoman Colleen McGlynn.

    MGM must also pay more than $1.5 million by Dec. 6 to eight surrounding cities and towns, under separate financial compensation deals reached with those communities. On Monday, the Las Vegas-based company made a required $85 million payment to the state for its 15-year gambling license.

    In eastern Massachusetts, Wynn Resorts is also slated to start making significant payments to cities and towns surrounding its $1.6 billion development on the Everett waterfront, overlooking Boston.

    Among them is a $1 million payment to Malden scheduled for Thursday and a $300,000 payment to Chelsea scheduled for Friday, according to spokesman Greg John. Within the next three months, it will also be required to make $200,000 payments to Medford and Cambridge.

    The Las Vegas company previously paid Medford $50,000 and Somerville $150,000 after reaching financial compensation agreements. Wynn also paid its $85 million state licensing fee earlier this month and is set to pay the City of Everett $5 million when construction starts, John said.

    In southeastern Massachusetts, Penn National Gaming has already begun making payments on a $100,000 “community impact” payment to the town of Plainville, where work is well underway at the company’s $225 million slot parlor expansion at the Plainridge harness racing track.

    The development is expected to open in June 2015, meaning larger annual payments will likely come due for Penn National sooner than the other casino operators. Among them is a $2.7 million annual payment to Plainville that begins upon opening and roughly $1.5 million in property taxes, according to project general manager Lance George.

    The Wyomissing, Pa.-based company has also paid its $25 million state licensing fee, the proceeds of which are divvied up into a range of public funds including health care reform, higher education, transportation projects and local city and town aid.

    To be sure, casino payments were flowing to the state long before the Nov. 4 election, when voters resoundingly rejected a ballot question to repeal the state’s 2011 casino law.

    All three casino companies, for example, say they have already paid an annual assessment on their expected slot machines that’s worth $600 per machine. That fee goes toward the operating budget of the state Gaming Commission, which was created to license and regulate the casino industry.

    For MGM, the slot assessment totaled $1.8 million; for Wynn it was $1.5 million and for Penn National Gaming it was $750,000.

    The companies also say they must also pay an “annual commission assessment” that’s meant to help cover the commission’s budget shortfalls until its revenues ramp up. To date, MGM has paid nearly $5 million, Wynn $4.8 million and Penn National Gaming $1 million.

    And each company — along with all others that sought a state gambling license — had to pay an initial $400,000 application fee.

    press release contact
    AGA Press

    (703) 600-9997‬