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City Council OKs East Boston-Only Casino Vote

BOSTON — The Boston City Council voted 12-1 Wednesday in favor of an East Boston-only referendum on a proposed casino at the Suffolk Downs race track.

The council had the option under the state’s gambling law to allow all of the city’s voters to weigh in on the proposal. But backers of a neighborhood-only vote said East Boston residents would be the ones most affected if a casino were to be built.

“I would not do this to you, I would not go to your district if they were going to expand Fenway Park and say, ‘Yeah, East Boston should vote on it,'”  City Councilor Sal Lamattina, of East Boston, said  during a meeting at City Hall.

The vote was set for Nov. 5, the same day as the mayoral election.

If the referendum is approved, Suffolk Downs could be in competition with proposals in Everett and Milford for the sole eastern Massachusetts resort casino license, which will be awarded by the state gaming commission.

Suffolk Downs officials say they’re happy with the decision, and feel optimistic the measure will pass.

With reporting by the Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom.

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