On November 22, 2011, Massachusetts allowed casinos through the Expanded Gaming Act. This month is a 2 year anniversary since the casino business became legal in this state. So, what happened since Governor Deval Patrick signed the law.
205 CMR regulates gaming through Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Under the 194 §1(7), Massachusetts Gaming Commission was established that consists of chair and four commissioners and it is tasked to overview fair and transparent gaming experience. Chapter 194 §1(13) requires businesses to “have received a certified and binding vote on a ballot question at an election in the host community in favor of such license; provided, however that a request for an election shall take place after the signing of an agreement between the host community and the applicant; provided further, that upon receipt of a request for an election, the governing body of the municipality shall call for the election to be held not less than 60 days but not more than 90 days from the date that the request was received; provided further, that the signed agreement between the host community and the applicant shall be made public with a concise summary, approved by the city solicitor or town counsel…”
This means that Massachusetts requires local voters to agree before casino applicants can even obtain a state license to conduct any type of gaming activities. While Boston residents voted against casinos entering their city, Revere residents voted for the casinos and dog racing trucks to enter their city. Leominster residents were a bit more conservative and allowed only slot machines. With casinos entering the area, the employment and financial improvement will affect the economic growth of the city. At the same time, the local government will have to raise security to balance out the influx of the visiting people and to protect from potential criminal activity. Similarly, Jamaica Plain is legendary opposed to work with chain companies. For example franchises such as Arthur Murray, Fred Astair, and Apple store will have a tough time opening their doors in Jamaica Plain. At the same time, a small independent dance studio or a computer store would have no problem doing their business. What this essentially means is that people decide what business they want where they live.
Its a known fact that business owners must comply with all Federal, State, city/town to ensure their business is legal and runs smoothly. States and cities/towns are of local nature and still hold enormous power over how they want their businesses to run. Not all is lost. Besides compliance, there is another way to make sure the business process in the community is doable. Business owners can and should become an integral part of their local government. They can work with and participate in the community to ensure they reflect the area and assist growth in the community which in turn improve their chances of staying afloat and profiting.
Written by Margarita Smirnova, Esq.
If you have a specific question relating to your business or any other legal questions, please contact Margarita