Mass. commission requires second vote on Revere casino
IN A TUESDAY HEARING, the Mass. Gaming Commission demanded a second vote by Revere residents to approve the casino that Suffolk Downs and the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority have proposed to build there. Above, an artist's rendering of Suffolk Down's proposed $1 billion resort casino at its racetrack on the East Boston-Revere border.
BOSTON – The Mass. Gaming Commission ruled Tuesday that the town of Revere must hold another public referendum on whether to allow Suffolk Downs and the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority to build a casino there before the commission will approve the proposal, Boston.com reported Tuesday.
Residents of Revere approved the original Suffolk Downs plan – which involved a $1 billion casino at its racecourse straddling the East Boston-Revere border – in a vote on Election Day. After the project failed to garner support among voters in East Boston, however, Suffolk Downs reworked the plan to move the casino entirely onto the Revere side of the property.
Mohegan joined the Suffolk Downs proposal after voters in Palmer, Mass., shot down the Connecticut developer’s plans to build a casino in the town.
The new proposal would locate the casino on 42 acres in Revere, about one-half mile from the horse track in East Boston. Last week, the Revere City Council unanimously approved a resolution affirming its support for the Suffolk Downs casino, according to a Boston.com report.
During a hearing Tuesday, however, gaming Commissioner James McHugh argued that another public referendum is required to prove that the residents of Revere agree with the changes that Suffolk Downs and Mohegan have been made to the original plan.
The commission voted unanimously in favor of the new referendum, and said it would allow the Suffolk Downs proposal to go forward, provided the developers and the town of Revere formally commit to holding the prescribed referendum.
If Suffolk Downs and Mohegan accept the commission’s terms and proceed with the application process, their casino will compete with Wynn Resorts Ltd. for the sole Boston-area gaming license.
In a separate meeting on Friday, the commission will consider Wynn Resorts owner Steve Wynn’s purchase of land along the Mystic River in Everett, which stirred up some controversy after a federal grand jury investigation into whether a businessman with a criminal record has hidden ownership of the property.
The gaming commission’s chairman, Stephen Crosby, has recused himself from the Wynn Resorts vote because he has a past business relationship with a co-owner of the Everett property, Paul Lohnes.