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Gaming Panel Delays Ruling On Boston Host Community Status

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will wait until next week to decide whether Boston residents will get to vote on proposed casinos in Everett and Revere.

Gov. Deval Patrick says the city of Boston and casino developers may be near a deal, which could make a decision by the commission unnecessary.

“It was his understanding that the parties were close enough that it was worth agreeing to the request [to delay a decision by one week],” said gaming commission Chair Steve Crosby, who received a call from Patrick Wednesday night.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and city attorneys in March argued before the commission that Boston should get host community status for both projects because casino patrons would have to use city roadways, public transportation and Logan Airport to get to either facility.

Commissioners have appeared reluctant to name Boston a host community, a designation that would give residents of Charlestown and East Boston a say in whether their neighboring casino project could move forward.

“I am looking to make sure that the people of East Boston and Charlestown have a voice, and to me, that voice is by having a vote,” Walsh said at a separate event after the hearing.

Walsh said he would be open to a generous surrounding community agreement, which would not give Boston residents the chance to vote on the casino proposals.

The eastern Massachusetts casino license was scheduled to be awarded this month. Due to the controversy over Boston’s status on both proposed projects, the commission now says the license will be awarded in August at the earliest.

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