NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

June 26, 2013

Mistakes at Salisbury slots presentation causing concern

(Continued)

By Oct. 4, all the companies bidding for the slots casino have to file their applications with the state gaming commission, which has promised to pick the winner by the end of the year.

The quick turnaround time makes it hard for selectmen to do their homework, investigating the history of similarly sized, slots-only casinos in areas that mimic this region’s population base and weather patterns, and such casinos’ history of financial viability, as well as community and commercial impact on their host communities.

Selectman Chairman Henry Richenburg said after selectmen discuss the proposal at the workshop Monday night, they’ll move straight into a formal session at 7 p.m. At that meeting, they’ll vote “yea or nay,” Richenburg said, on negotiating the hosting agreement and contract with Cordish. Under the state’s casino gambling regulations, the agreement is required and would delineate the basis for the partnership, outlining what the town would specifically receive and require from the Baltimore-based casino developer if it it is allowed to site in Salisbury. It could include the amount of money the town gets annually from Cordish in impact fees and other revenues, along the preferential hiring of local residents and vendors.

More than $1 million is offered to Raynham in its hosting agreement with former greyhound race track Raynham Park, vying with other companies to win the license for the single slot-machine parlor allowed by state law. Also permitted are three full-service casinos, along with one Indian-owned gambling venue.

Beaulieu chastised Snyder at the meeting for not providing a detailed written proposal earlier, allowing selectmen time to review it before the meeting. He also questioned why the town was getting the proposal so late in the game.

Cordish paid the state’s $400,000 fee to be one of the slot casino contenders last fall, Snyder said, admitting that before Salisbury, the company had approached other communities, like Boxborough, which had turned down the opportunity. Snyder assured selectmen, after considering the local site, Cordish believes it’s so ideal it could win its bid for the slots casino.

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