Three formally apply for sole Mass. slots license

Oct 7, 2013 10:17 AM

Three companies have formally applied to operate a slots parlor, the first type of expanded gambling facility expected to open in Massachusetts, state gambling regulators said Friday.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission had set a 2 p.m. deadline for the companies to return the 236-page application forms. All three had already paid a $400,000 fee to the panel in January during an earlier phase of the application process.

The state’s 2011 gambling laws allows for only one slots parlor along with three regional resort casinos.

The commission hopes to award the slots-only license in late December or early January, months before any of the resort casinos are licensed.

As anticipated, Friday’s applicants included Cordish Cos., a Baltimore-based group which has proposed a slots parlor in Leominster; Penn National Gaming, which hopes to add slot machines at the Plainridge harness race track in Plainville; and Raynham Park, which hosted dog racing until it was outlawed in Massachusetts in 2009.

The five-member commission is scheduled to hear 90-minute presentations from each of the companies on Monday.

All were able to meet two key requirements before being allowed to submit final applications: They passed an extensive background check conducted by the commission, and they reached agreements with officials in their host communities that were later approved by voters.

The applicants must also negotiate with officials in neighboring towns and, if necessary, offer compensation for increased traffic or other impacts from a slots parlor. The commission on Thursday voted to extend the deadline for reaching surrounding community agreements from Oct. 15 to Oct. 31.

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