Meetings & Information


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Gam[bl]ing Commission Excluding the Public?

Dear Mr. Ombudsman,

Given the truncated process afforded the people of Plainville and the surrounding communities to research and review Penn National Gaming before the referendum vote, I am requesting the following:

• There are many citizens interested in giving testimony — written or in person — about a slots license at Plainridge. Because Plainville was given such short shrift in the referendum process, and because our opinion was not solicited for the adjudicatory hearing for suitability (yet another way the MGC's regulations cut citizens out of the process), we should receive more than the usual scant and completely unworkable 48 hours notice before the slots licensing hearing. I request at least one full week for citizens to make plans to attend the hearing and/or to write and send their testimony. PLEASE take into account that some of our citizens do NOT have access to or knowledge about computers, and so will be submitting their testimony in writing by mail after they are notified of the hearing. Please allow adequate time for this.

• Given that residents of Plainville and the surrounding communities are more likely to participate if the slots license hearing is more accessible and doesn't require the cost of a round trip train ride ($18.50 RT) or parking ($12/day), the public hearings for the slots license should be held at a location that is more central and less expensive to access than the Boston Convention Center.

• Holding a hearing at 9:30 in the morning, or even 1:30 in the afternoon, certainly works well for the MGC and the developers, but it does not work for the vast majority of interested citizens who also have a stake in the process. An attempt should be made to hold hearings at a time when more members of the public can attend. In the case of the slots license, perhaps a weekend hearing date would be best.

• Please upload the video of the October 7th Slot Application Public Presentations as soon as possible; the members of the public who could not attend or access the meeting need as much time as possible to review and research Penn National's plan before testifying. Also, please provide a FULL online transcript of the October 7th meeting well before any hearing regarding the slots license takes place, as well as making copies of the transcript available by mail.

Finally, I have tried to sign up for notices, newsletters, etc. on the MGC website at least a half dozen times, but have received absolutely nothing. I get this response: "Thanks for contacting us! We will get in touch with you shortly," but there is never any follow up. Is the sign-up working? I wonder how many other people are having the same experience and therefore missing opportunities to comment or attend meetings. Considering the other ways in which citizens are seriously marginalized in this process, I wonder if this "glitch" is by accident or intention. In either case, I hope it gets cleared up soon.

I look forward to your reply.

Mary-Ann Greanier

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