BOSTON — State gambling regulators agreed Friday to hear arguments next week and possibly rule on Boston Mayor Martin Walsh’s request to suspend the eastern region casino license process until after the November election.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission said that it will hold a public hearing on the request at Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown on July 2. Representatives from Boston, the City of Revere, the City of Everett, Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts have been invited to present their arguments.
Wynn proposes a $1.6 billion casino in Everett. Mohegan Sun proposes a $1.3 billion casino on the Suffolk Downs horse racing track in Revere. The two gambling companies are competing for the lone casino license for the Boston-area.
Walsh has said he doesn’t want to continue spending taxpayer dollars on negotiations with the companies until the fate of the state’s 2011 casino law, which opened the door for Las Vegas-style gambling in the Bay State, is determined. The state’s highest court this week allowed a referendum to repeal the casino law to be placed on the November ballot.
Under the casino licensing process, the Walsh administration needs to reach agreements with Mohegan Sun and Wynn to compensate Boston for any impacts their proposals might bring to the city; if not, the two sides must go to arbitration. The Boston-region gambling license is expected to be awarded in late August or early September.