Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria wants to hold a casino vote in June, and is protesting a state requirement that communities must wait to hold referenda on casino projects until the gambling commission completes backgrounds checks on casino developers.
“There is nothing in the gaming law that requires suitability investigations to be one-hundred percent completed prior to an election taking place,” DeMaria wrote to the state gambling commission Monday. The mayor has been negotiating with Wynn Resorts over a planned hotel casino resort on the Mystic River waterfront.
The requirement is the commission’s policy, and had been expected to be cast in stone by the panel as a formal regulation. But after hearing from DeMaria and the Wynn company, the commission is expected to revisit the issue on Thursday.
The ongoing background checks on the applicants are expected to take months and are probably not going to be done in time for a June vote. Communities are reluctant to hold summer votes, when residents are on vacation and turnout could be low, which could push the referenda to the fall.
The local votes are an essential part of the application process for coveted state casino licenses. No project can complete its application until the host community has endorsed the project at the ballot box.
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