: A rendering of Penn National Gaming’s proposed casino for Springfield, Mass.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) announced that 11 gaming applicants have officially submitted the first application and the non-refundable $400,000 fee in a two-phase application process toward the award of an expanded gaming license. Plans call for the state to eventually issue three land-based casino licenses and a single racetrack slot parlor license.

The companies that submitted applications and fees are: MGM Springfield; Penn National Gaming, Inc.; Plainridge Racecourse; Hard Rock MA; Wynn, LLC; Mohegan Sun; Sterling Suffolk Racecourse; Raynham Park; Mass Gaming & Entertainment, LLC; PPE Casino Resorts; and Crossroads Massachusetts, LLC.

The background investigations of all applicants for Category 1 (resort casino) and Category 2 (slots-parlor) gaming licenses will begin immediately. Each applicant for a gaming license, as well as their qualifiers, will undergo the extensive background investigations to ensure they meet the standards for good character, honesty, integrity and financial suitability.

Investigations may take up to six months to complete, dependent on the complexity and number of qualifiers for each applicant. MGC will later announce when public versions of the applications will be made available.

The Commission has already made significant progress in planning the regulations necessary for the Phase 2 process, which will focus on an applicants’ site-specific plans. Phase 2 regulations are expected to be released summer 2013. MGC has also made a determination to first proceed with the issuance of the single slots-parlor license in an effort to speed the licensing process. It is anticipated that the slots-parlor license will be awarded by the end of 2013. MGC anticipates the first resort-casino license to be awarded on or before February 26, 2014.