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Home / Organizations / Gaming Mitigation / Application Process

Gaming Mitigation

Application Process

The Gaming Mitigation Program, established by MGL Section 59 chapter 23K, aims to mitigate a direct threat to the sustainability of non-profit performing arts centers in Massachusetts by providing capital to preserve their ability to compete in a new, unbalanced marketplace.

This is important because performing arts centers:

  • Are economic engines for communities
  • Ensure access to the arts across the Commonwealth
  • Are centers of community gathering and place making
  • Provide young people creative learning opportunities

The Mass Cultural Council is ready to launch the program, however the agency is waiting for the release of the funds. Once it is clear when and how the funds will be released, we will open the application and set the deadline. After reviewing the guidelines below, you can take an eligibility quiz and sign up for email notifications about the program.

How to Apply

  1. Read the program guidelines below.


  2. Take the eligibility quiz and signal your intent to apply. This puts you on the mailing list for updates about the program as well.


  3. Attend an info session or listen to an informational webinar (Dates TBD).


  4. Complete the online application beginning (Date TBD).


Questions? Contact your Cultural Investment Portfolio staff contact or Jen Lawless.

Program Guidelines


To be eligible, applicants must meet all of the following characteristics:

  1. Organizations must be:
    • A legally recognized 501(c)3 non-profit owned and managed performing art center in good standing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
    • Municipally owned performing arts center that is managed by the municipality or a legally recognized 501(c)3 non-profit
  2. Organizations must present touring shows or artists.
  3. Organizations must have spent at least $20,000 on eligible touring show or artist fees during its most recently completed fiscal year.

Definitions related to eligibility

Performing art centers are defined as facilities that commit 50% or more of their operating expenses to the performing arts.

A non-profit organization managing a non-profit or municipally owned performing arts center must have long term (at least 10 years) contract, lease, or deed articulating their management responsibilities.

For non-profit performing arts centers to be in good standing means that the organization must:

  • Have a 501(c)3 designation with the Internal Revenue Service which is currently active and has not been revoked.
  • Complete all required filings as a public charity with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.
  • Complete all Annual Report filings as a nonprofit corporation with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth.
  • In addition, any organization incorporated outside of Massachusetts must have a current certificate of registration from the Secretary of the Commonwealth to operate as foreign corporation within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Performing Arts are types of art that are presented live for an audience; examples include dance, music, opera, musical theater, theater, folk/traditional dance and/or music.

Touring Shows or Artists are shows or artists that appear on Pollstar or another similar touring performing arts roster.

Eligible Touring Show or Artist Fees are actual cash expenses paid by the organization to the eligible touring shows or artists (cannot include in-kind figures) and can include:

  • Payments to the show/artist including bonuses and percentages
  • Housing costs for the touring show/artist
  • Travel costs for the show/artist

Not all eligible applicants are guaranteed funding.


Organizations that meet the eligibility requirements may submit an application. Grants will be made to the Performing Arts Center. In cases where a center is managed by a different municipal or non-profit entity, the payment will be made to the entity responsible for paying the touring shows/artists – in most cases the managing entity.  Funding decisions are made primarily through a formula that considers the following factors, which have equal weight:

  1. Percent of Performances Impacted = Total number of eligible performances/Total number of performances For example, if a performing arts center presents 100 shows a year and 30 of them are eligible performances, then 30% of the performing arts center’s performances would be considered impacted because the eligible performances are those that compete most directly with casinos.  The formula allocates more funds to those performing arts centers that have a higher percent of impacted performances.
  2. Total fees paid to touring shows or artists for the eligible performances.

The formula allocates more funds to those performing arts centers that spend more money on touring shows or artists because organizations whose business model relies more heavily on these types of shows/artists will be the most impacted by competition with casinos.

Definitions related to funding:

Eligible Performances are defined as:

  • Open to the public (free or paid admission)
  • Touring show/artist
  • Presented by the organization or presented by a producer renting the organization’s venue

Performances are defined as:

  • Open to the public (free or paid admission)
  • Not primarily educational or primarily serving as outreach to new audiences

Fees Paid to Touring Shows or Artists are the actual cash expenses paid by the organization to the eligible touring shows or artists and can include:

  • Payments to the show/artist including bonuses and percentages
  • Housing costs for the touring show/artist
  • Travel costs for the show/artist

Fees cannot include in-kind figures. Fees cannot include any show or artist fees that were not included in the Total Number of Performances.


At the time of application the applicant will be asked to provide the following information. The information should be from the applicant’s most recently completed fiscal year. Applicants that have audits should only submit information from the completed audit.

Used to confirm eligibility and to run formula:

  1. Total cash operating expenses
  2. Total cash operating expenses associated with performing arts
  3. Attachment: Budget information showing how the applicant calculated amount spent on performing arts
  4. Total number of all performances
  5. Total number of performances by eligible touring show/artist
  6. Tell us which roster or rosters you used to identify your eligible touring shows/artists
  7. If a show/artist is not listed on a roster, please tell us the name of the touring show/artist and explain why you consider them an eligible touring show/artist
  8. Attachment: Spreadsheet or list of all performances of the year identified
  9. Total fees paid to eligible shows/artists (payment to show/artist, cost of show/artist housing, cost of show/artist travel)
      (Used to measure impact and to advocate for the mitigation program.)
  10. Total earned revenue from all performances
  11. Total earned revenue from performances by eligible shows/artists
  12. Total ticket revenue from performances by eligible shows/artists
  13. Total # free tickets for performances by eligible shows/artists
  14. Total # paid tickets for performances by eligible shows/artists
  15. What shows/artists did you lose to casinos or could not afford because of competition with casinos?

Application Review

Applications are first reviewed by staff to confirm eligibility:

  • Ineligible applicants are notified
  • Eligible applicants stay in pool

Eligible applications are then reviewed by staff to confirm formula components are correct:

  • Staff will contact applicants that need to correct or edit their submission if any problems are discovered. The applicant will be given a deadline to resubmit the corrected application. If the applicant fails to do so, the applicant will not be moved forward.
  • Applications without issue and corrected applications will then be moved into formula consideration

The formula is applied to the applications remaining in the pool. The maximum grant amount and the minimum grant size needed to qualify for funding will be determined after the applications are submitted. The amounts will vary year-to-year depending on the amount of funding available, the number of applicants to the pool, and the need to target funding to those most directly impacted by the operation of resort style casinos. Not all eligible applicants are guaranteed funding.

Grant Requirements

The Mass Cultural Council may apply a contract hold, penalty, or restriction if the grantee is not in compliance with necessary grant requirements. Grantees that do not meet annual requirements may not be eligible in subsequent grant years. Grant requirements include:

  • Grantees must submit a Final Report.
  • Acknowledgement of Funding: Grant recipients are required to credit the Mass Cultural Council for funding. Refer to your Contract Package or the online Credit and Publicity Kit for more details.
  • Accessibility: The Mass Cultural Council and its grantees are contractually committed to abide by state and federal regulations which bar discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation, and which require accessibility for persons with disabilities. The Mass Cultural Council’s grantees sign a contract certifying that they will comply with ADA and Section 504. The Mass Cultural Council aims to help grantees understand their obligations and recognize the opportunities that increasing access can provide for both the public and the grantee. Resources and additional information about accessibility are available.

Additionally, the Mass Cultural Council has the right to withhold, reduce, discontinue funding, or apply restrictions to the use of grant funds if a grantee:

  • Intentionally misrepresents its finances, programming, or other eligibility requirements
  • Does not notify the Mass Cultural Council of significant organizational changes
  • Cannot carry out stated mission
  • Demonstrates inadequate financial management and oversight

In cases where a grantee experiences serious organizational capacity issues, the Mass Cultural Council will attempt to work with that organization to address the challenge.

Reconsideration Policy

An applicant may request reconsideration of a Mass Cultural Council decision if the applicant can demonstrate that the Mass Cultural Council did not follow published guidelines and procedures. Dissatisfaction with the denial of an award or the award amount does not constitute grounds for reconsideration. A written request must be sent to the Mass Cultural Council’s Executive Director within 30 days of the date of notification of the decision. Such requests will be reviewed by the Mass Cultural Council Grants Committee and the Council.


The funds designated for the Gaming Mitigation Program by MGL Section 59 chapter 23K are currently being held and have not been released to the agency. Once it is clear when and how the funds will be released, the Mass Cultural Council will set the application open date and deadlines.

April 4, 2019 – Guidelines posted and organizations can submit intent to apply

Date To Be Determined – Applications open (possibly April 2019)

Date To Be Determined – Information sessions and webinar available for potential applicants (possibly May and June 2019)

Date To Be Determined – Application deadline (11:59 PM, Eastern Standard Time) (possibly July 2019)

Date To Be Determined – Decision notifications sent (possibly September 2019)

Date To Be Determined – Contracts sent to grantees (possibly October 2019)

Date To Be Determined: (possibly July 2020)

  • Final Reports deadline
  • Application Deadline for next round of funding (11:59 PM, Eastern Standard Time)

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