April 23, 2013 – Mayor Sarno announced today that the holding of voter referendum on a gaming facility in accordance with M.G.L. c.23, §15(13) would not occur on June 25th, 2013 as previously anticipated. The Mayor announced that negotiations with the proposers are ongoing. “While I have been informed that negotiations are close to complete, there will not be a completed agreement(s) for approval prior to April 25, 2013.”
The Mayor had selected both Blue Tarp Redevelopment LLC, an affiliate of MGM Resorts International (“MGM”) and Springfield Gaming and Redevelopment, LLC, a joint venture between an affiliate of Penn National Gaming and an affiliate of Mr. Peter Picknelly (“Penn JV”), as a result of a phased selection process, to negotiate host community agreement(s) for the development, construction and operation of a destination resort casino project.
A host community agreement is a requirement for an applicant for a category 1 license pursuant to “An Act Establishing Expanded Gaming in the Commonwealth,” codified at Chapter 194 of the Acts of 2011. The Act provides for a single category 1 license to be issued in Western Massachusetts, designated in the Act as Region B. Region B encompasses the Massachusetts counties of Hampshire, Hampden, Franklin and Berkshire. A voter referendum cannot be scheduled earlier than 60 days after a host community agreement is approved.
The City’s Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy stated: “The City and its team of consultants have been negotiating with both proposers. We were hopeful to complete our negotiations on our host community agreement(s) and submit the host community agreement(s) to the City Council for approval by April 25th in order to place the matter before the public at the same time of the U.S. Senate election scheduled for June 25, 2013. The recent approval by the Gaming Commission to authorize a referendum prior to a finding of suitability had us hopeful that we could complete the process in a timeframe to meet that date, but considering the short time frame, we are mindful that the calendar is against us on submitting the host community agreement(s) as we hoped.