The Associated Press

Suffolk Downs Drops Caesars From Mass. Casino Bid

BOSTON — The Suffolk Downs ownership group said late Friday that it dropped partner Caesars Entertainment from its bid to build a $1 billion resort casino at the racetrack, weeks ahead of a public vote on the proposal.

After gambling regulators briefed Suffolk Downs on their investigation into the proposal, racetrack executive Chip Tuttle wrote to Caesars, asking that the casino withdraw from their joint application.

Caesars said it agreed to walk away from the proposal but criticized the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for setting what it described as unreasonable standards for prospective developers.

“The commission is attempting to set standards of suitability that are arbitrary, unreasonable and inconsistent with those that exist in every other gaming jurisdiction,” spokesman Stephen Cohen said.

Messages seeking comment were left after hours for the commission. Its investigation into the Suffolk Downs proposal and the role of Caesars, one of the gambling industry’s largest companies, has not been made public.

But Suffolk Downs is confident that the track, which straddles the East Boston neighborhood and the town of Revere, will still be deemed suitable for licensing, Tuttle said in a statement.

The state’s 2011 gambling law allows for a resort casino in eastern Massachusetts. The Suffolk Downs proposal with Caesars, one of three offered for the region, called for a casino, two hotels, restaurants and horse racing on the 163-acre site near Logan Airport.

The track announced a deal in late August with the city of Boston on details of the proposal. It called for $33.4 million in upfront payments and estimated $52 million in annual revenue going to the city if the casino is built. The agreement also promised at least 2,500 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs. A deal also was reached with Revere that would provide an estimated $15 million in annual revenue to the city.

Such agreements with host cities are required by the gambling law and must then be approved by local voters before developers can seek licenses from the gambling commission. Residents of the East Boston neighborhood will vote on the proposal Nov. 5.

Opponents contend the casino would have a devastating effect on the tight-knit neighborhood, take business from local establishments and increase traffic.

The project is competing for the sole casino license in greater Boston with a Wynn Resorts proposal on the Mystic River waterfront in Everett and a Foxwoods project in Milford.

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  • fun bobby

    I am anti casino but it would be nice if they keep the racetrack and if they have to put in a few slots or tables to keep that going then I might be swayed


    The Menino Casino project violates the Mass. State Gambling Law; Suffolk Downs is 24% in Beachmont, Revere, 76% in East Boston, which is one of many Boston neighborhoods, no independent. If REVERE as a whole is a “Host Community” for this cancer, then obviously the City of BOSTON must be defined as the Host Community for the rest, not the Eastie enclave which is 60% Hispanic, 40,000 of our 650,000 population, and they pay the smallest share of real estate taxes; this means they are supported by Boston Proper. There are 9 District City Councilors, and they are not about to let just one determine our future. There is another 500 million in road construction that is not disclosed, to be paid for by us.
    The 62+ acre sight would be ideal for residential development, and 30,000 housing units & commercial would offset the “loss” of this corrupt project.

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