Section 19. (a) The commission may issue not more than 3 category 1 licenses based on the applications and bids submitted to the commission. Not more than 1 license shall be awarded per region. Regions shall be established as follows:
(1) region A: suffolk, middlesex, essex, norfolk and worcester counties;
(2) region B: hampshire, hampden, franklin and berkshire counties; and
(3) region C: bristol, plymouth, nantucket, dukes and barnstable counties.
Gaming licenses shall only be issued to applicants who are qualified under the criteria set forth in this chapter, as determined by the commission. Within any region, if the commission is not convinced that there is an applicant that has both met the eligibility criteria and provided convincing evidence that the applicant will provide value to the region in which the gaming establishment is proposed to be located and to the commonwealth, no gaming license shall be awarded in that region.
(b) A category 1 license issued by the commission in any region shall be valid for an initial period of 15 years; provided, however, that no other gaming license shall be issued by the commission in any region during that 15-year period. The commission shall establish procedures for the renewal of a category 1 license, including a renewal fee, and submit to the clerks of the senate and house of representatives any legislative recommendations that may be necessary to implement those procedures, not less than 180 days before the expiration of the first license granted pursuant to this chapter.
(c) No gaming licensee shall transfer a gaming license or any direct or indirect interest in the gaming license or a gaming establishment without the majority approval of the commission. A person seeking to acquire a gaming license through a transfer shall qualify for licensure under this chapter. The commission shall reject a gaming license transfer or a transfer of interest in the gaming establishment to an unsuitable person and may reject a proposed transfer that, in the opinion of the commission, would be disadvantageous to the interests of the commonwealth.
(d) The commission shall take into consideration the physical distance in selecting the locations of the gaming establishments as they relate to each other and how they maximize benefits to the commonwealth; provided, however, that in determining which gaming applicant shall receive a gaming license in each region, the commission shall also consider the support or opposition to each gaming applicant from the public in the host and surrounding communities as demonstrated by public comment provided by the gaming applicant or directly to the commission pursuant to section 15 and through oral and written testimony received during the public hearing conducted pursuant to section 17.
(e) If a category 1 license is awarded to an applicant with a live racing license under chapter 128A as of July 1, 2011, a condition of the gaming license shall be to maintain and complete the annual live racing season under said chapter 128A. Upon failure to conduct live racing, the commission shall suspend the category 1 license.
(f) If a category 1 license is awarded to an applicant with a simulcasting license under chapter 128C as of July 1, 2011, a condition of the gaming license shall be to maintain the simulcasting license under said chapter 128C. Upon failure to conduct simulcast wagering, the commission shall suspend the category 1 license.
(g) For the purposes of subsections (e) and (f), an applicant for a gaming license shall be considered to be the holder of a license under chapter 128A or chapter 128C if the applicant: (i) owns 50.1 or more per cent of the common stock of the company which obtained a license under said chapter 128A or 128C; and (ii) is a person who owns more than 5 per cent of the common stock of the applicant company, directly or indirectly, or is an institutional investor in the gaming license.