Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

July 25, 2013

Staking a claim inTewksbury casino debate

The Andover Townsman

---- — Under the state’s new gaming act, Andover could be viewed as a “surrounding community” to Tewksbury’s proposed casino, giving it the power to negotiate on and ultimately have a say in Penn National Gaming’s project, according to Elaine Driscoll, director of communications for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

How Andover would get there is dependent on the town becoming an officially recognized surrounding community to the project, according to Driscoll.

There are three ways for that to happen.

First, Penn National could simply acknowledge Andover as a surrounding community, giving the town a seat at the table.

Option two has Penn National negotiating with Andover on terms concerning its interests.

The third avenue arises if the company doesn’t identify Andover as a surrounding community. After Penn National files its application with the state, town officials could then petition the gaming commission, forcing an administrative review of the project and Andover’s need for inclusion.

Once identified as a surrounding community, Andover would then be in the driver’s seat until an agreement is reached, Driscoll said.

“If a community and an applicant develop an agreement, that agreement would be to address any mitigation concerns or impacts that are anticipated as a result of a nearby gaming facility,” she said.