12/03/2013 4:08PM

Suffolk Downs: Massachusetts regulators delay vote on relocating casino


Suffolk Downs and the Mohegan Sun will have to wait until at least next week to know whether they may move forward with their proposal to move the planned $1 billion casino resort project from the East Boston side of the racetrack grounds to the portion located within the city of Revere.

At a meeting of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Tuesday, the five commissioners decided to delay their vote until their scheduled meeting next week.

“We are very encouraged about what we heard from the Commission today asserting Revere’s ability to move ahead and we look forward to providing additional information and to meeting again with the Commission next week.," said Suffolk Chief Operation Officer Chip Tuttle.

Track owners had originally partnered with Caesars and planned a combined casino and racetrack situated in East Boston and Revere, but Caesars was forced to withdraw in late October when the Gaming Commission determined the company would not pass its background check.

In referenda held Nov. 5, East Boston residents voted down the project, while Revere voters overwhelmingly approved it. Last week, Suffolk and Mohegan Sun announced their new partnership.

The Gaming Commission now must determine if the Revere vote is binding, given Suffolk’s new partner and the relocation of the project. The deadline for submission of the Phase 2 application is Dec. 31, and there is not time to hold another election. Meanwhile, a coalition of East Boston residents opposed to the casino at Suffolk indicated that they might take legal action if the Gaming Commission allows the new plan to move forward.

If the Gaming Commission rules in favor of Suffolk and Mohegan Sun, the partnership will compete with Steve Wynn for the sole destination resort casino license designated for the greater Boston region. Foxwoods Resorts also had completed its Phase 1 application, but its massive casino proposal was voted down overwhelmingly by citizens in the host community of Milford on Nov. 19.

Wynn, who has proposed a $1.2 billion casino project in the city of Everett near Suffolk Downs, is scheduled for a suitability hearing before the Gaming Commission on Dec. 16.