Final Two Members Appointed to Gaming Commission

Mar. 20, 2012

BOSTON — On Tuesday, the governor's office announced the remaining two appointments to the state board that will oversee the new casino industry. Here's the (lightly trimmed) press release; WGBH News State House reporter Sarah Birnbaum will have more later.

> > EXTRA: Chairman Steve Crosby talks about his plans for the commission.


Gov. Deval Patrick, Attorney General Martha Coakley and Treasurer Steve Grossman today announced the final two appointments to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, rounding out the five-member independent body which is responsible for implementing and overseeing the expanded gaming industry in the Commonwealth. 

The final two appointees are James F. McHugh, retired associate justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court; and Bruce Stebbins, business development administrator for the City of Springfield. Both appointees will serve as full-time commissioners.

“With these last two appointments, the Gaming Commission is strong, complete and ready to get on with the business of creating jobs for Massachusetts,” said Patrick. “James McHugh and Bruce Stebbins are excellent additions and I look forward to the thoughtful discharge of the work the commission has before it.”

“Together, these five commissioners have the breadth of experience and judgment to effectively oversee this critical new industry in our Commonwealth,” said Coakley. “As we proceed with gaming in Massachusetts, we must ensure that it is done right and having this strong commission in place is an important first step.”

“Through close collaboration with the governor and the attorney general, we have assembled a highly-respected group of individuals with a level of expertise that is both deep and diverse,” said Grossman. “I’m confident that these commissioners will oversee the introduction of gaming in Massachusetts with a focus on fiscal discipline and accountability, as well as with the ethics and integrity that have been the hallmark of their respective careers.” 

The commission will now move forward with its business of hiring staff, establishing an office, hosting public meetings and soliciting bids for up to three commercial casino licenses and one slots facility. Licenses must be competitively bid and awarded following local approval, under the rules of the Expanded Gaming Act signed by Patrick on Nov. 22, 2011.

Separate from the commission, the Administration has hired a specialized law firm and financial advisor, which are currently assisting in negotiating a Native American gaming compact for a casino on tribal lands in Southeastern Massachusetts.

Patrick appointed Steve Crosby as chair of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Dec. 13, 2011. In February, Coakley selected former New Jersey Lieutenant Colonel Gayle Cameron as the Attorney General’s law enforcement appointee to the Commission. Last week, Grossman selected Enrique Zuniga as the Treasurer’s corporate finance and securities appointee. In order to ensure the strongest possible commission, McHugh will now serve as the Attorney General’s law enforcement appointee, and Cameron will now serve as the joint appointee with legal experience related to gaming. Stebbins will serve as the final joint appointee.

All costs of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will be borne by the gaming industry itself and will not be paid for by Massachusetts taxpayers.

Justice James F. McHugh, of Boston, served on the Massachusetts Superior Court from 1985 until 2001, when he was appointed to the Massachusetts Appeals Court. He served on the Appeals Court until February 2012, when he retired from the bench. He is a former adjunct faculty member at Boston College Law School and Northeastern University School of Law. He received a B.A. from Brown University and graduated magna cum laude from Boston University School of Law. He is a former active duty member of the United States Navy. During the course of his career, McHugh has presided over more than 600 trials in both civil and criminal matters and authored more than 400 opinions as associate justice. The scope of these cases has ranged from murder trials to liability lawsuits. McHugh served for ten years as chair of the Committee on Judicial Ethics. Most recently, he drafted five reports for a task force created to reform the hiring and promotions process throughout the Massachusetts court system. McHugh also led an effort to improve the judiciary’s technology which resulted in MassCourts, a more efficient and highly praised case management system.  

Bruce Stebbins has worked for the City of Springfield since 2010 and served for two terms on the Springfield City Council. He has previously worked at the National Association of Manufacturers and the Massachusetts Office of Business Development. Stebbins also served in the administration of Gov. Bill Weld, and earlier as associate director of political affairs in the White House under President George H.W. Bush. He received a B.A. from The George Washington University and has completed a management program at the Kennedy School of Government. He lives in Springfield.

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