08/10/2012 1:11PM

Suffolk Downs submits $400,000 fee in casino bid

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Suffolk Downs in East Boston, Mass., has submitted a $400,000 fee to the state’s gambling commission to launch its bid to receive one of three casino licenses authorized by the state legislature late last year, the track said on Friday.

The track has said that it planned to seek a casino license ever since signing a partnership agreement with Caesars Entertainment well in advance of the legislation passing. The partners said on Friday in a release that they would spend $1 billion to build a casino, hotel, and related entertainment venues at the 77-year-old racetrack property if the state awarded them a license.

Suffolk Downs is considered a leading candidate for one of the licenses. The operator of a Boston-area license is expected to hold the rights to the most lucrative casino property in the state.

Under the legislation passed last year, Suffolk would be required to hold a minimum of 105 racing dates in the first year that the casino is open, with that minimum increasing by 10 days for each of the next two years. Horsemen will also get a share of the licensing fees generated during the application process, along with a slight cut of the casino revenues and a 9 percent share of the net gambling revenues from the slots parlor.

Plainridge Downs, a harness track southwest of the Boston metro area, has already submitted its fee for a gambling license, but the track is seeking the one license available in the state for a slot-only facility.