By Bob Weiss, Travel Contributor

BOSTON (CBS) – The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is starting to show its hand.

January 15 is the date when applications for the two licenses in Boston and Western Massachusetts are due. The application includes a $400,000 non-refundable down payment due by 5 p.m. at the Commission’s Boston Office.

After a three-and-one-half hour board meeting on Thursday, Chairman Stephen Crosby said that he expected competition for a license to take place in the Boston and Western Massachusetts regions. The third casino license is under review by the state which involves an Indian tribe in the southeast region of the Commonwealth.

After a thorough review of proposals, The Commission could award licenses by the end of the year. A license for a slot parlor could be awarded later this fall.

Under the current schedule, the first resort casino could open in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Competition for a license is especially strong in the Springfield area. The Big E fairgrounds has announced that it will host a major announcement tomorrow. It is expected that The Hard Rock Café will be the third major gaming company that will bid for a license in that city.

The major news at today’s meeting was the unanimous approval of Karen Milne Wells as the new Director of the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau of the MGC.

Ms. Wells brings nearly two decades of law enforcement experience to her new job. She will start her new position on January 28. Most recently she has been Undersecretary of law enforcement at The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety.

Wells graduated from Boston University Law in 1994 and began her career as an Assistant District Attorney at The Middlesex County District Attorney’s office.

Bob Weiss, CBS Boston travel contributor

Bob Weiss, CBS Boston travel contributor

Wells will make $145,000.

The Investigations and Enforcement Bureau is responsible for all background investigations and enforcement of non-criminal statues and regulations that apply to companies and individuals licensed by the Commission.

In another part of the meeting, John Ziemba, Ombudsman for the Commonwealth and representatives from the environmental and transportation agencies, assured Commission members that the state would work with all parties to expedite the application process.

The opening of three resort casinos will create the biggest change in Massachusetts tourism and destination marketing in the last 50 years.

Bob Weiss and All Things Travel can be heard on WBZ News Radio.


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