The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has today approved the distribution of nearly $2m in grants to local causes, as legislated for under Massachusetts gaming law.
The Community Mitigation Fund was created under the Massachusetts Expanded Gaming Act (2011), with the aim of helping local municipalities and entities offset costs related to the construction and operation of gaming establishments “including, but not limited to, communities and water and sewer districts in the vicinity of a gaming establishment, local and regional education, transportation, infrastructure, housing, environmental issues and public safety, including the office of the county district attorney, police, fire, and emergency services.”
It can also distribute funds to a governmental entity or district to support measures which affect more than one community group.
Funding is provided from money collected from gaming licence holders regular licence fee payments, with money being awarded every year.
The window for grant applications for 2017 closed in February, with funding categories ranging from: funds for mitigation of specific impacts, transportation planning grants, workforce development pilot programs, tribal gaming technical assistance grants and payments of grant money held in reserve from previous fund windows.
A community mitigation review team conducted a comprehensive review of all applications to ensure compliance with existing guidelines, made recommendations to the Commission with those recommendations being discussed in a series of public meetings held throughout the state.
The city of Everett was the biggest winner of grant funds, receiving $300,000 dollars for transportation projects in the city, while state capital Springfield, the city of Somerville and the historic city of Boston received grants of $250,000 each.
In a statement announcing the release of funds Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Steve Crosby reaffirmed the MGC’s support for local causes: "The Community Mitigation Fund program underscores the Commonwealth's commitment to not only maximizing the benefits associated with expanded gaming, such as jobs and economic development, but also the Legislature's strong mandate to mitigate any unintended consequences that potentially correlate with the arrival of casinos,"
"This is only the beginning of our ongoing efforts in assessing impacts and maximizing the benefits of gaming."