Gaming commission: Revere voters should decide Suffolk Downs casino
Let the battle continue.
The controversial Revere-only casino plan for Suffolk Downs is alive for now after the Massachusetts Gaming Commission decided on Tuesday to allow for a second citywide vote in Revere on the proposed casino at the track.
Suffolk Downs must notify the commission within the next week if it will force a vote on the new Revere-only proposal. Suffolk Downs Chief Operating Officer Chip Tuttle said he thinks a new vote is likely, but said he has to speak with partners before making a final decision.
Celeste Myers, co-chair of No Eastie Casino, attended the commission hearing and said immediately after Tuesday’s decision that the group will be “getting on the ground” in Revere as soon as possible ahead of the potential new vote.
At issue was whether or not the plan could move forward after a split vote last month in which voters in East Boston rejected a Host Community Agreement and Revere voters approved of it. Suffolk Downs stretches into both East Boston and Revere.
After the split vote, Suffolk Downs officials, who in recent weeks formed a new partnership with Mohegan Sun, worked out a new plan that would locate the entire casino on 42 acres on the Revere side of the racetrack.
Gaming commissioners, instead of voting on whether or not to allow the Revere-only plan to move forward, instead decided to allow for a second vote.
Track and casino officials, as well as Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo, said they believed last month’s vote and Host Community Agreement were valid and should be allowed. However, opponents of the plan urged the state commission to reject the plan saying that the vote was not successful because of East Boston’s rejection and that agreement never mentioned Mohegan Sun or relocating the the casino to the Revere side.
On Monday, Metro reported that in the final hours before the vote, both sides painted very different pictures of the future of Revere depending on the outcome of Tuesday’s vote.
The commission has set a deadline by the end of the month for casino license applicants to submit their final plans.
The commission is holding a hearing on Friday regarding the other potential Greater Boston casino to be located in Everett in partnership with casino mogul Steve Wynn.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.