Wareham Residents Would Have the Final Word on the Fate of Proposed Wareham Park Casino Complex

It is the residents of Wareham who are set to have the final decision on the fate of the proposed casino project, rather than the local government leaders.

In order for the proposed casino complex to become a reality, a number of events need to occur first. First, a piece of legislation, specifically Bill HD4467 needs to be passed by the Massachusetts legislature. Then the state’s Gaming Commission is required to grant a class 2 license to the Notos Group which has proposed the casino, horse racing track and hotel complex. Local authorities also need to approve a route 25 interchange.

Still, in order for all these events to occur, Wareham citizens must first vote in favor of local zoning changes at a town meeting. Then, they need to vote for the approval of the proposed gaming license at a town election. This basically means that the citizens of Wareham would have the final decision on the establishment of an entertainment complex in the town.

According to some experts, if approved by local residents, the project has the potential to have a positive impact on Wareham. This includes a new revenue stream which could reach approximately 10% of the town’s budget in 2019. They, however, insist that the project needs to be done correctly, as the project has to properly address some issues such as the environment, traffic, property values, labor and wages, crime rates, possible impact on established town resources, etc.

Bill HD4467 Only Recently Filed in the House of Representatives

Only a few days ago, a piece of legislation called HD4467, under which the Gaming Commission would be given the opportunity to offer a slots-only operating license, was filed by State Representative Susan Williams Gifford in the House of Representatives. The proposed bill could allow the Wareham Park casino, horse racing track and hotel complex to get an official permission to operate.

Wareham Park facility has been proposed by Notos Group. According to the developer’s proposal, the project is planned to be established between Route 25 and Glen Charlie Road.

Representative Gillford revealed that the proposed piece of legislation does not reflect her personal opinion. She further reminded that Wareham town officials have been interested in the proposal but further legislative action would be necessary in order for the proposal to become reality. As Ms. Gillford explained, the HD4467 bill is an act which related to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s authority.

For the time being, the only available casino license in the state is provided for a full resort casino, but that is not what Notos Group developers have proposed. What they had in mind was a slots-only casino, similar to the one in Plainville, called Plainridge Park. If the proposed piece of legislation is passed, the state’s Gaming Commission could decide to offer a slots-only gaming license instead of a full resort casino license.

The Gaming Commission would be granted the chance to offer a slots-only license for Region C, under which the company granted a license would be required to make an investment of no less than $125 million, pay a $25-million fee and pay 49% of its gaming revenue as taxes.

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