Four lawsuits and 2½ years ago, our lawmakers brought forth to this state a new industry, casino gambling, based on the proposition that if Massachusetts residents are already going to Foxwoods, why not keep their money in-state, tax it, and create some jobs?
Little has come easy since the gambling lawpassed in late 2011. Casino regulators are embroiled in litigation, and casino developers have been kicked out of more communities than have accepted them.
But this week a milestone for supporters finally arrives: the state gambling commission will award its first license for a slot parlor by Friday. The final evaluation unfolds throughout this week.
Click on the graphics tab above or click here to see details on how the projects stack up.
More information about the selection process:
The first license to be awarded under the 2011 expanded gambling law will permit the operator to run as many as 1,250 slot machines. The license will cost $25 million; the developer must spend at least $125 million on the project. The slot parlor will pay a 49 percent state tax on gambling revenue.
The contenders and host towns
►Cordish Companies, Leominster: Supported at local referendum, 62 percent in favor.
►Penn National Gaming, Plainville: Supported at local referendum, 76 percent in favor.
►Raynham Park, Raynham: Supported at local referendum, 86 percent in favor.
The five gambling commissioners have studied the projects across five categories, as follows:
► Enrique Zuniga, financial.
► Bruce Stebbins, economic development.
► James McHugh, building design.
► Gayle Cameron, mitigation.
► Chairman Stephen Crosby, overall project.
The commissioners have been huddling with experts for months. Beginning Tuesday they will take turns presenting their findings. Fair warning: Some of the material will be technical and dry. Perhaps as soon as Wednesday, commissioners will begin deliberating in open session. By Friday they will vote.
See it yourself
The presentations and deliberation, in a conference room at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, begin at 9:30 a.m. and are open to the public. They will be streamed live on the commission’s website.
The wild card
Casino opponents are seeking a court ruling to put a repeal of the casino law on the November statewide ballot.