Key developments in 1-year-old Mass. casino law
Here is a chronology of the key developments that occurred in the year since Massachusetts’ gambling law was expanded.
— Nov. 22, 2011: Ending years of contentious debate, Gov. Deval Patrick signs a bill allowing up to three resort-style casinos and one slots parlor in Massachusetts.
— Dec. 7, 2011: Attorney General Martha Coakley rejects as unconstitutional a ballot question proposed by casino opponents seeking to repeal the new law.
— Dec. 13, 2011: Patrick names Stephen Crosby, a dean at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and former state official in Republican administrations, to lead the five-member Massachusetts Gaming Commission that will oversee casino gambling.
— Jan. 18, 2012: Hard Rock International says it is evaluating other sites in western Massachusetts after opposition from Holyoke’s new mayor, Alex Morse, to developing a casino in the city.
— Jan. 25, 2012: Ameristar Casinos completes a $16 million purchase of a former industrial site in Springfield on which it hopes to build a resort casino.
— Feb. 17, 2012: Federal judge throws out a lawsuit filed by a New Bedford company alleging the casino law gave unfair advantage to federally recognized Indian tribes in southeastern Massachusetts.
— Feb. 29, 2012: The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe announces a plan to build a $500 million resort casino in Taunton. City officials back the proposal.
— March 2, 2012: Las Vegas casino owner Steve Wynn formally unveils details of a resort casino proposal on land off Route 1 in Foxborough owned by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Opponents mobilize to fight the plan.
— March 20, 2012: Retired judge James McHugh and Springfield development director Bruce Stebbins are named to the final two posts on the gaming commission, joining Crosby, Gayle Cameron and Enrique Zuniga on the panel.
— March 27, 2012: MGM Resorts International says it is abandoning its plan to build a casino in rural Brimfield and will seek a new location in western Massachusetts.
— April 10, 2012: Gaming commission holds it first public meeting in Boston as it begins laying the groundwork for implementing the casino law.
— May 8, 2012: Wynn and the Kraft group suspend their efforts to develop a resort-style casino in Foxborough, one day after town voters elected two selectmen candidates who oppose casino negotiations.
— May 9, 2012: Stanley McGee declines an offer to serve as interim executive director of the gaming commission, citing the distraction from an allegation that he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old boy in Florida in 2007.
— May 22, 2012: Sheldon Adelson, a Boston native and billionaire head of Las Vegas Sands Corp., says he is no longer interested in developing a casino in Massachusetts.
— June 2, 2012: In a nonbinding vote, Lakeville residents reject a proposal by the Wampanoag tribe of Aquinnah to develop a casino in the southeastern Massachusetts town. Voters in neighboring Freetown rejected a similar proposal days earlier.
— June 5, 2012: The owners of Suffolk Downs unveil plans for a $1 billion resort casino at the 77-year-old thoroughbred horse racing track in East Boston.
— June 9, 2012: Voters in Taunton approve a referendum expressing support for a $500 million resort casino proposed by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe.
— July 11, 2012: Patrick administration and the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe reach agreement on a compact that calls for the state to receive 21.5 percent of gambling revenues from future tribal casino.
— Aug. 8, 2012: Gaming commission says it will begin accepting $400,000 application fees from potential Massachusetts casino developers.
— Aug. 22, 2012: MGM Resorts International unveils a plan for an $800 million resort casino on a 10-acre site in downtown Springfield that was damaged by a tornado in June 2011.
— Aug. 27, 2012: Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno announces his city’s plan for reviewing and choosing among several companies interested in developing a casino in the city.
— Sept. 25, 2012: Gaming commission releases an updated tentative licensing schedule that projects awarding the commercial casino licenses by March 2014.
— Oct. 11, 2012: Penn National Gaming and Peter Pan Bus Lines chairman Peter Picknelly unveil the details of an $800 million casino plan in Springfield. Hard Rock International declines to enter bidding for a Springfield casino.
— Oct. 12, 2012: U.S. Interior Department rejects the compact between Patrick and the Mashpee Wampanoags, dealing a setback to tribe’s hopes of building a resort casino in Taunton. State and tribal officials say they will renegotiate the compact in attempt to address the federal government’s concerns.
— Oct. 19, 2012: Gaming commission opens the window for potential Massachusetts casino developers to submit preliminary applications.