Milford is bordered by Upton, Hopedale, Bellingham, Holliston, Hopkinton and Medway.
Surrounding communities do not get to vote on the casino. We will be doing everything we can to support the anti-casino movement in Milford. We will also be forging ahead with our own anti-casino effort.
The Massachusetts legislature included wording in the Massachusetts Gaming bill to try to protect surrounding communities.
Section 3 of the Gaming bill requires a study by the proposed casino group that among other things spells out the cost to the host community and surrounding communities and the commonwealth for the gaming establishment to be located at the proposed location.
Section 15 of the Gaming bill requires an identification of infrastructure costs to the host and surrounding communities incurred in direct relation to the construction and operation of a gaming establishment and requires a commitment to a community mitigation plan.
Section 15 of the Gaming bill also requires signed agreements between the surrounding communities and the applicant setting forth the conditions to have a gaming establishment located in proximity to the surrounding communities and documentation of public outreach to those surrounding communities; provided, however, that the agreement shall include a community impact fee for each surrounding community and all stipulations of responsibilities between each surrounding community and the applicant, including stipulations of known impacts from the development and operation of a gaming establishment;
If you have read carefully up to this point you will see that there is no mention of payment of any kind to surrounding communities.
The Gaming bill does allow for Community mitigation funds. There are two ways the mitigation fund can grow.
- The first way to fund the community mitigation account : 10% of the licensing fee from the casino goes into the community mitigation fund. The licensing fee for the casino proposed in Milford is at least $85,000,000.
- The second way to fund the community mitigation account is the tax on gross casino revenue.
It may seem like there is a lot of money to go around but let’s take a look:
There will be $8.5 million available from the licensing fee. This will be for all capital costs related to the impact of a casino: police, fire, public works, possibly water, roads, schools, property value devaluation, etc… The $8.5 million will be used up quickly and possibly all by the host community with little or nothing left for surrounding communities.
The tax resulting from casinos will by most estimates be based on $1.2 billion in gross gaming revenue. The resulting tax revenue for this amount would be $300 million. The amount earmarked for community mitigation is 6.5%. This would result in $19.5 million being set aside for community mitigation. Since the commonwealth will probably have 3 casinos the resulting mitigation dollar amount for Milford and surrounding communities will be $6.5 million.
So this $6.5 million will be distributed to seven towns. Milford plus the six bordering towns. If distributed evenly that would result in $928,571 going to each town. For comparative purposes $750,000 goes to the surrounding towns for the casinos in Connecticut.
However, even distribution is not what the gambling bill sets up. In order to distribute the mitigation funds a panel of 12 people is to be set up. Six of the members will be from host communities or local chambers of commerce. So six of the voting members from casino towns will be deciding how to appropriate the funds.