The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is launching a number of community engagement initiatives designed to give the public an opportunity to participate in the process of regulating gaming across the Commonwealth as the introduction of expanded gaming progresses.

For starters, the Commission is seeking community input to draft upcoming regulations for the gaming license application process, requesting increased attendance at three upcoming educational forums on critical gaming topics and encouraging the public to connect and share with the Commission on social media.

“Providing the citizens of Massachusetts with a fair, open and transparent process is crucial to the success of expanded gaming,” said Steve Crosby, MGC Chairman, in a statement. “The Commission is relying on the feedback of the public as we chart the future and make decisions that affect many. We hope that the public and public officials alike will take advantage of the opportunities provided to contribute and influence outcomes.”

MGC is developing regulations that will implement the bifurcated process required under Chapter 23K of Massachusetts General Laws enacted by the Expanded Gaming Act of 2011 to allow for the determination of the background qualifications and suitability of applicants for Category 1 (casino) and Category 2 (slot machine) gaming licenses in advance of the determination of an applicant’s entire application. This is a pre-qualification process developed in an effort to expedite licensing.

The Commission has invited all interested parties to provide early input concerning the proposed two-phased approach as the Commission develops its regulations. MGC is also hosting a series of educational forums designed to inform the Commission and the public on various critical matters associated with the introduction of expanded gaming, including a problem gambling forum June 25 at North Shore Community College in Lynn. Participants can register for each forum on the MGC’s website www.mass.gov/gaming. Each forum will also have a live stream for those who are unable to attend in person.

Lastly, MGC has launched its social media efforts aimed at connecting with the community and providing a platform for online engagement. MGC has launched Twitter (@MassGamingComm), Facebook (www.facebook.com/MAGamingComm), and a Youtube page and anticipates upcoming improvements to the website. This network of outreach will provide timely and important gaming information to residents, business owners, and individuals seeking the latest gaming news.