Gaming Commission staffing up for slot parlor

BOSTON, MARCH 19, 2015…..State gambling regulators are ramping up hiring efforts as the first slot parlor in Massachusetts moves closer toward its opening in June.

The state Gaming Commission on Thursday unanimously approved changes to a $25.7 million budget covering the remainder of fiscal year 2015 and reflecting, in part, its effort to turn its attention towards the slots parlor planned for Plainville.

The slot parlor will operate as Plainridge Park Casino and is due to open at the end of June.

The commission currently employs 52 people and pays for eight State Police troopers. The agency plans to hire an additional 22 people over the next six months, including 12 “gaming agents” and two financial investigators.

The commission also expects 10 to 12 additional State Police troopers to work with local law enforcement officials to provide a presence at the slots parlor on a 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week basis. The 2011 expanded gaming law requires a State Police presence at gaming facilities.

There will be two troopers and two “gaming agents” per shift at the slots parlor, according to Commissioner James McHugh.

The gaming agents will be present to resolve issues with slot machines, such as making sure they’re operating properly, McHugh said, and the troopers are there to keep an eye out for fraud and cheating.

At Thursday’s meeting, commissioners also received an update from Wynn Resorts officials, who are planning to build a resort casino in Everett.

Along with the reduction in parking spaces by 300 and increasing the number of hotel rooms by 125 to 604, Wynn officials also presented plans to reduce the amount of retail space and nixed a plan for a nightclub due to a market analysis.

In response to a concern raised by Gaming Commissioner Bruce Stebbins about a potential reduction in jobs, Wynn senior vice president Jacqui Krum said the shrinking retail space will not lead to a change in the staffing number at the casino because the number of hotel rooms will require additional jobs.

Wynn added that the company has made $1.9 million in payments to surrounding communities: $1 million for Malden, $300,000 for Chelsea, $250,000 for Medford, $200,000 for Cambridge, and $150,000 for Somerville.

Separately, the Gaming Commission gave initial approval to regulations for selling and distributing alcoholic beverages at a gaming facility.

The regulations define a complimentary or free-of-charge beverage as “without payment of money or other form of monetary-like consideration, e.g. – gift cards, rewards points).”

The 2011 law establishing casinos in Massachusetts allows free drinks in a casino’s “gaming area.”

Copyright 2015 State House News Service

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