11/22/2011 3:47PM

Suffolk gets cut of casino money


Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick on Tuesday authorized the establishment of three casinos and a slots parlor in the state by signing legislation that cuts racing into a share of the casino revenues and requires Suffolk Downs to increase its number of live racing dates.

The legislation directs 5 percent of the license fees that are expected to be paid by the casinos to a horseracing fund, along with 9 percent of the net gambling revenues from the slots parlor and .0625 percent of the net revenues from the three casinos. The slots parlor and the casinos are expected to pay a total of $280 million in licensing fees.

Under the legislation, Suffolk Downs, which is the only Thoroughbred track in the state, will be required to run a minimum of 105 race dates in the first year that casinos are operational. The minimum would jump to 115 the next year, and 125 in the third year, with the limit being subject to review by a newly established gambling commission in the years following. Suffolk ran 80 dates this year.

Earlier this year, Suffolk reached an agreement with Caesars World to jointly pursue a casino at the property. The site is expected to be one of the front-runners for the three available casino licenses.

The bill will require the establishment of a five-member gambling commission. The slots parlor is not expected to be up and running for at least two years, while the casinos are expected to be at least three years away from opening.