By Stephen Quigley
The development project opposite the Encore casino on Lower Broadway cleared a major hurdle on March 14 when the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) voted that the new project does not need to be physically regulated by the MGC, but rather have several conditions added to the Gambling License that will address the commissioners’ concerns.
The several conditions that will be added to the license will be as follows:
1) The number of seats that can be installed at one time for “live entertainment.”
2) Radius restrictions so that the same entertainer can perform elsewhere in the area.
3) That the new development must follow the guidelines and rules of the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Agency.
4) There must be a security plan for the new garage at the development, as well as for the present garage under the gambling establishment. The commissioners want to make sure that children are not left unattended in parked cars while their guardians are on the gambling floor of the casino.
5) Any future development proposed for the lower Broadway District Urban Renewal Plan that could be construed to be part of the gambling establishment would then need to be addressed by the MGC.
6) The employees at the garage, entertainment buildings, hotels, and restaurants of the new development are not subject to the MGC oversight. Likewise, these new employees cannot be on the gaming floor except as visitors.
7) The last concern centered on the pedestrian bridge that will span the six-lane highway. The commissioners wanted full architectural plans submitted within 90 days of an application. They were concerned about the egress from the bridge as it neared the Encore buildings. This egress must be included in the final plans before construction can get underway. In addition, the security plans for the bridge must include checkpoints and surveillance cameras.
These concerns were first aired at the public hearing on February 28 and then discussed at the MGC meeting on March 10.
There was debate among the commissioners whether to wait to vote until a fully-written copy of conditions can be added to the Encore Gambling License. However, all commissioners eventually agreed that there was ample evidence in the notes and recordings to show the intentions of the commissioners and their wishes.
Jacqui Krum, who represents Encore, noted that all of the conditions that were discussed were “agreeable” to the company.
The final vote was 4-0.