Marquis summarized his contact with the real estate developer, Maryland-based Cordish, which started on Jan. 10 with a phone call from a Joseph Weinberg, president of the gaming/lodging division of Cordish, according to the company’s website. The closest casino to the Bay State that Cordish has developed is Maryland Live!, which is adjacent to the Arundel Mall, which is owned by the Simon Property Group, Marquis said.
Danvers is one of two locations Cordish is scouting for a slots-only, category 2 license with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Marquis said. The other is not known to Marquis, other than it is not on the North Shore. The state is only approving one slots parlor statewide, to be issued by the end of this year.
“Mr. Weinberg indicated they have certainly not made a decision on Danvers,” said Marquis, who said he has nothing written from Cordish or from the mall.
Once a community is identified as a host of a casino, the two parties have to hammer out a host agreement that would look at infrastructure improvements and other mitigation. Host communities of casinos are eligible for state grants to help with technical aspects of siting these developments, Marquis said. Once an agreement is signed, voters would get to vote on the host agreement, at least 60 days and no more than 90 days, after the agreement is signed.
“If the community says ‘no,’ that’s the end of it,” said Marquis, who said there is a process where a community could come back 180 days later, but Marquis said that seems highly unlikely.
“If a community says ‘yes,’” Marquis said, “that doesn’t guarantee a license” with the Gaming Commission. Marquis could not say when a vote might take place as the due diligence process could take time.
Paul Pawlak, Precinct 4 Town Meeting member, suggested that if the meeting goes forward on March 5, the board will need to find a bigger room in which to hold it due to the amount of public interest. Clark said residents should have ample opportunities to sound off on the proposal.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.