For companies that want to operate a resort casino in Massachusetts, Tuesday is a big day – it is the deadline to submit a deposit on the application fee.
As the deadline nears, it remains unclear what impact any new resort casino will have on Danvers and the North Shore.
The state was divided up into three districts in the resort casino legislation signed into law, and Danvers sits in the Boston and Worcester region, where Suffolk Downs and its partner, Caesars Entertainment, had been the only known applicants for several years. But last year, Steve Wynn, a Las Vegas developer, emerged with a plan for a casino and hotel on land in Everett.
On Friday, developer David Nunes told the Boston Globe he intends to pay the application fee by Tuesday’s deadline “with a significant gaming partner” for a project on land he controls in Milford, which is also in the greater Boston region.
In comments before the North Shore Chamber of Commerce last month at the Danversport Yacht Club, Chairman of the state Gaming Commission Stephen Crosby said the commission was working to increase competition in the Boston region. There are already six bidders from western Massachusetts.
“We’ve been trying very hard to encourage competition everywhere, including eastern Massachusetts,” Crosby said, later adding; “By Jan. 15 we will know all the players in the game.”
With two of the leading applications located between Danvers and Boston, Crosby said the commission has yet to define what constitutes the surrounding community when examining the impact of a new casino.
While Danvers is far from East Boston, Everett and Revere, “it will impact your residents as they travel to and from work,” Crosby said.
It could be possible that the North Shore could be eligible for mitigation efforts from a resort casino that looks likely to be built just north of Boston.
“We will have to decide about that,” he said.
The commission is made up of five full-time commissioners and has 175 staff members. It meets at 1 p.m. on Tuesday and the meetings are live-streamed on the Internet. It has a $7 million annual budget.
“None of that is tax money,” Crosby said, noting that $15 million was used from the state’s rainy day fund to cover the Gaming Commission’s start-up costs.
With the $400,000 deposit on the $85 million application fee starting to come in, that money will cover the commission’s budget, Crosby said.
“We will always be covered by casino money,” he said.
The commission will start undertaking a background check on all applicants and the first permit will not be issued for at least a year, Crosby said.
Crosby acknowledged that the commission had fielded complaints that the process has taken too long, with gamblers hoping for the casino to arrive and construction workers clamoring for the work.
“We will not compromise the integrity of the process for time,” he said.
Any community where a casino is planned will have a say whether they want the casino.
“There will not be a casino in any community that does not want a casino,” Crosby said.