BOSTON — On Tuesday, the five-member Massachusetts Gaming Commission held its first public meeting. Today, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is naming his own five-person gambling panel for the city.
The Host Community Advisory Committee will vet gaming proposals and be responsible for approving any Boston plan. According to the mayor’s office, the panel will seek “to ensure integrity, accountability and transparency” during the process.
Thus far, as the Herald reports, “the only proposed casino in Boston is a $1 billion gambling palace at Suffolk Downs in East Boston.”
The committee’s formation comes a day after another Suffolk Downs development, according to the Herald:
Late yesterday, Suffolk Downs Chief Operating Officer Chip Tuttle sent letters to both Boston and Revere officials saying they are ready to kick off negotiations for the region’s lone gambling resort license.
Massachusetts’ gambling law allows up to one casino in the eastern part of the state.
In related gambling news, a UMass study out yesterday “found that Massachusetts gamblers spent 6 percent more at casinos and slot parlors in New England last year than they did the prior year,” according to the Fall River Herald News. Nearly 69 percent of that spending went to Connecticut’s Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos, according to the Herald News.
Update at 3:30 p.m.: This afternoon, Menino officially appointed the committee.
Here, courtesy of his office, are the five members Menino has tapped for the commission:
– Brian Leary, Chair, Partner at McCarter & English law firm. Mr. Leary works with some of the nation’s largest companies in planning and implementing strategies for high stakes problem-solving, including the coordination of litigation defense, government relations and communications strategy. Leary was also a reporter/anchor for Boston’s WCVB-TV.
– Sarah Barnat, Vice President of Development at National Development and East Boston resident. While previously working at Trinity Financial, Barnat was also Project Manager for the Maverick Landing HOPE VI development in East Boston.
– Lisa Calise, Chief Financial Officer at Perkins School for the Blind since September 2010, previously Director of Administration and Finance for the City of Boston.
– David Fubini, Senior Director of McKinsey & Company, specializes in large global transactions, mergers, and reorganizations. Fubini also serves on the Boston Green Ribbon Commission with Mayor Menino.
– Ronald L. Walker II, President and Founding Partner of Next Street, a Boston-based merchant bank founded to transform the way finance and business advisory services are provided to small businesses and entrepreneurs operating in urban markets.
The website www.cityofboston.gov/gaming is also live.