Boston may be left out after casino licenses awarded

Jan 20, 2014 6:06 PM

It seems to have dawned on Boston’s leadership that when the casino licenses are awarded by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, the state capital and most populous community will be left out in the cold.

That wasn’t the intention of legislation authorizing three casinos and one slots facility. One license was expected to end up in Boston proper. Early on, the leading applicant, Suffolk Downs with partner Caesars Entertainment Corp. (CZR) had the strong support of popular mayor Tom Menino.

Then that plan began to fall apart.

First, it was the failure of Caesars to receive suitability support from Commission investigators. That was followed by the voters in East Boston, where the racetrack is located, rejecting the proposal.

Since Suffolk Downs’ huge real estate holdings included a portion in the adjoining City of Revere, an effort was made to transfer its license application to that community. But, that is not Boston.

Also, popular gaming tycoon Steve Wynn proposed a $1.4 billion casino complex in the nearby City of Everett. Some have suggested he was encouraged by folks close to the commission. But, again, that is not Boston.

Last week, the Boston Globe newspaper got into the picture with an editorial demanding that because of the locations of both Revere and Everett, sitting on Boston’s doorstep, Boston “Mayor Martin Walsh is right to fight for as much influence as possible over the (casino) plans.”

The Globe said Mayor Walsh had been “dealt a tricky hand” and has been dealing with it but he should have a Plan B to fall back on if his efforts fail.

Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.

Contact Ray at [email protected].

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