- Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump
Media Contact for Audit Finds Massachusetts Gaming Commission Not Ensuring Casino Workforce Development Requirements Met
Mike Wessler, Communications Director
Boston — An audit of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), released today by Auditor Suzanne M. Bump, found that it did not ensure that Plainridge Park Casino reached its workforce development goals.
“Gaming was established in Massachusetts to create jobs and economic benefits for local communities, and our state as a whole. Not only is Plainridge Casino falling far short of the job creation promises made to the people of the state, but the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has not taken action to ensure they meet their commitments,” Bump said of the audit findings. “The Commission must take steps to ensure that these facilities produce the economic and job creation benefits that residents of the Commonwealth expect.”
As a condition of its license, Plainridge is required to hire 90 percent of its workforce from Plainville, where the casino is based, and the surrounding communities of Foxborough, Mansfield, Wrentham, and North Attleboro, and 10 percent of the workforce must be comprised of individuals from ethnic minority groups. Under state law, MGC is charged with providing oversight to gaming establishments to ensure they are meeting the conditions of their license.
The audit found that despite MGC having the ability to examine if Plainridge was meeting its hiring benchmarks, it had not done so. In a strategic plan unveiled in August 2014, the casino indicated it would meet the benchmarks by February 2015. However, as of June 15, 2015, Plainridge stated that it had hired only 36 percent of its employees from its host and surrounding communities. The audit also shows that, even when you consider all employees who were Massachusetts residents—which made up 77 percent of its workforce--the casino was still not reaching the 90 benchmark. The casino did indicate that 14 percent of its staff was from ethnic minority groups, which would exceed the benchmark established by its license, but could not provide detail in support of that assertion.
In the audit, Bump recommends that MGC strengthen its processes for ensuring Plainridge meets workforce requirements. It also suggests establishing further target dates for benchmarks, and monitoring procedures to ensure Plainridge’s compliance.
Additionally, the audit found that a technological failure caused Plainridge to not properly intercept and remit approximately $65,000 in winnings for delinquent taxes and child-support payments as required under the law. It also found that MGC did not correct funding errors in certain trust funds under its control. Both of these deficiencies were resolved as a result of the audit. Finally, the audit found that management, administrative and consulting expenses were appropriate to the operations of MGC, and that it had adequate internal controls over cash at Plainridge Casino.
MGC, which was established in March 2012, was created to ensure public confidence in the process of licensing gaming establishments and to provide oversight of ongoing compliance with related laws and regulations. It consists of five full-time commissioners, and had 68 full-time employees during the audit period. It oversees gaming establishments in Springfield, Everett, and Plainridge.