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November 29, 2012

Gaming commissioner on his game

Crosby speaks at chamber dinner

DANVERS — The last time that state gaming czar Stephen Crosby addressed the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, it was the day after the Nov. 6 election, and Crosby said he suffered some sort of a “physical problem,” making it impossible for him to give his talk on the future of casino gaming in the Bay State.

Last night, during the chamber’s 94th Annual Dinner and second annual Distinguished Leadership Awards, Crosby was on his game before a packed ballroom at the Danversport Yacht Club filled with 500 businesspeople from all over the North Shore.

“I want to assure you I got plenty of sleep last night,” said Crosby, the chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

“I’m sorry I don’t have any insights on Powerball,” Crosby joked. Last night was the big drawing for the game, with a jackpot of $550 million. “There are benefits of being a gaming commissioner, but that’s not one of them. Although, I was sure to tell my wife to get us a few tickets.”

Last night, Crosby gave a status report of where casino gaming stands about a year after the law allowing it passed. He outlined the criteria the commission is going to use to make its decisions about who will get a casino license and the public policy questions that might affect communities. There are three full casino licenses up for grabs, one in the western part of the state; one in eastern Massachusetts, which would include this region; and one in southeastern Massachusetts.

There is a proposal by Caesars Entertainment to site a $1 billion resort at Suffolk Downs in East Boston. This week, casino developer Steve Wynn showed interest in putting a casino in Everett, which might then compete for a license against the Suffolk Downs proposal.

One of the many things the commission must mull, including job creation and impacts due to compulsive gambling, is the definition of a “surrounding community” to a casino. Those operators who want to get a casino license must ink agreements with host communities first.

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