By Mike Molloy
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission held an informational meeting on Tuesday evening at the East Somerville Community School.
Gaming Commission Ombudsman John Ziemba gave a presentation on casino law and how it relates to host and surrounding communities.
The gaming act, signed into law by Governor Patrick in November 2011, will allow for three facilities to be built in three determined regions. MassGaming is reviewing 11 applicants for expanded gaming licenses for these three regions.
City officials, including Mayor Curtatone, were on hand to question Ziemba about casino laws as they relate to Somerville’s potential status as a “surrounding community,” which MassGaming defines as “a municipality in proximity to a host community which the commission determines is likely to experience impacts for the development or operation of a gaming establishment.”
Ziemba stressed the commission’s policy of mitigation in relation to adjacent communities like Somerville. As the commission is still in the early stages of the application process, it is unclear whether Somerville will be defined as a “surrounding community” directly effected, but the purpose of this meeting was to maintain the commission’s continued approach of straightforwardness and community outreach.
The commission’s website, www.massgaming.com, stresses their intentions are to “create fair, transparent, and participatory process for implementing the expanded gaming law.”
The deadline is December 31 for license applicants to sign agreements with host and surrounding communities.