Suffolk Downs partnership eyes gaming complex
The owner of the Suffolk Downs racetrack is partnering with Caesars Entertainment Corp. in the hopes of building a gaming and entertainment complex on the property if the state allows expanded gaming, race track officials said today.
Richard Fields, managing partner at Suffolk Downs, said the alliance will "bring significant management expertise, marketing power and additional potential investment" to efforts to revive the track, which -- along with the rest of the racing industry -- has faced financial difficulties in recent years.
Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC, which owns Suffolk Downs, will control any development of the property, while Caesars Entertainment will manage the gaming facility should it be allowed at the track. The Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment operates casino resorts on four continents under the Caesars, Harrah's and Horeshoe brandnames. Whether the track, which operates in Revere and East Boston, would take on one of those brands had not been determined.
The racing industry in Massachusetts has struggled to attract patrons in recent years, and many tracks have supplemented their business with simultcast racing. Still, there have been casualties. Last year, Revere's Wonderland Greyhound Park closed, laying off its 85 employees after efforts on Beacon Hill to legalize casino gambling collapsed.
Revere Mayor Thomas Ambrosino said his city is a strong supporter of expanded gaming.
"The city looks at a potential casino as a major revenue producer," he said. "In the absence of a casino [at Suffolk Downs] that place will be closed down just like Wonderland is. And we don't need two empty, abandoned racetracks in this city."