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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Somerville to Host Casino Law Informational Meeting with Gaming Commission

SOMERVILLE – The City of Somerville will host an informational public meeting with a Massachusetts Gaming Commission staffer to give City officials and the public a better understanding of the state’s casino laws and how those laws may relate to Somerville.

Gaming Commission Ombudsman John Ziemba will lead a presentation on Monday, Sept. 16, at 6 p.m., in the East Somerville Community School auditorium at 50 Cross St. He will touch upon facets of the law such as host community status, surrounding community status, mitigation for affected communities and more.

Representatives from City Hall will serve as members of a panel and the meeting will be open to the public.

This meeting will not focus on specific proposed casino projects in Massachusetts or advocating for or against casinos. Instead, City officials hope to gain a better understanding of the casino law and its potential impacts, and to educate the public about the law.

“Regardless of personal opinions about casinos, it’s important for us to become well-versed in the current laws governing the creation of casinos in Massachusetts and the impact of those laws on our community,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “I thank the Gaming Commission and Mr. Ziemba for making themselves available to City officials and the public, providing us with a better understanding of the law and answering any questions we may have.”

Gov. Deval Patrick signed “An Act Establishing Expanded Gaming in the Commonwealth” in late 2011, allowing for up to three resort casinos—one in Western Massachusetts, one in Central and Eastern Massachusetts and one in Southeastern Massachusetts. It also allows the creation of one slots facility in the state. Host communities under the law are locations where the casino or slots facility will be located, while surrounding communities are municipalities in proximity to a host community and are determined, by the Gaming Commission, to experience impacts from the establishment of a casino.

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