The state auditor is faulting the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for failing to ensure the state’s first casino met its commitment for hiring locally. The auditor also said in a new report that the casino failed to stop winning payouts from going to gamblers who owed back taxes or child payments.
The report said the Plainridge Park Casino had pledged to hire 90 percent of its workforce from its host town of Plainville and the surrounding communities. Within the timeframe of the report, just 36 percent of employees were from that area, although Gaming Commission Chair Steven Crosby says that number is now higher. Crosby said the casino has made a good-faith effort to meet the target.
“There are only small towns around there," Crosby said. "And we feel very good that they got, I think, 65 percent are from nearby communities and 77 percent of the people who work there are from Massachusetts. So they are very serious about it.”
Crosby said hiring 90 percent of workers from surrounding communities was an ambitious goal.
"And we applaud that," he said. "And we applaud them to keep working on it. It will be something we continue to monitor. And we hope it will get closer and closer to 90 percent as time goes on.”
Crosby pointed out there’s no specific deadline for meeting the goal.
The auditor’s report also faulted the casino for failing to intercept about $65,000 of payouts to gamblers that should have been remitted to the state because the winners owed delinquent child support or back state taxes.
Crosby said the problem was caused by a computer glitch at the Plainridge Park Casino, that was caught by the state auditor’s office.
“We’re doing stuff here for the first time that involves hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands and thousands of transactions daily," he said. "So getting the help of the auditor to make sure the systems are perfect is entirely appropriate and we appreciate it.”
Crosby said the casino has since made that payment to the state.