WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — Milford is one of several candidates to get Massachusetts' first casino, and Westborough could apply for a seat on the state's commission as a "surrounding community" if that ever materialized.
"Over the coming months any community that believes that they should be considered a surrounding community, based on local impact, can apply to the commission," said Eighth Middlesex District State Rep. Carolyn Dykema told Westborough Board of Selectmen.
Dykema said if Westborough was interested, she would be happy to work on the petition for an "official seat at the table" in any discussions.
While Milford is a candidate following developer David Nunes' posting of the $400,000 fee to the Massachusetts Gambling Commission on Jan. 15, the town will contend with Boston and other areas for one license.
"There was a lot of questions as to whether they would submit an application or not," Dykema said, commenting on the competition they would be facing. "I certainly feel that we could make a case out here in Metro West that there are other types of economic development that might actually support a lot of our small businesses, rather than have a negative impact."
State Sen. Jamie Eldridge also spoke to the Westborough Board of Selectmen, and said that, although he voted against the bill, it was well-written legislation.
He said he will continue to work to ensure that if a casino does go up in the Metro West area there will be "community mitigation" to avoid troubles seen in Connecticut and Rhode Island after they adopted casinos and increased gambling.
"If the Gambling Commission did provide one of those licenses to Milford, we'd make sure to offset the increasing crime and other costs related to increased gambling in the region," he said, noting problems like robberies and bankruptcy that go along with casinos.
The next step for the Gaming Commission will be background checks on applicants for suitability, and reviews of individual site plans, as reported by the Milford Daily Voice.
The commission has said it anticipates the state's first license to be issued in early 2014.