BOSTON (AP) — More than 30 religious leaders from a variety of faiths have joined a new group to fight a proposed casino at Suffolk Downs in East Boston.
The group called the Friends of East Boston is made up of clergy, businesspeople and members of other nonprofit groups who have been meeting quietly over the summer to discuss strategies for defeating the proposed casino at the horse racing track that straddles the Boston-Revere line.
‘‘A casino in East Boston is probably one of the worst things that could happen to our community,’’ the Rev. Thomas Domurat, pastor of Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, told The Boston Globe (http://b.globe.com/19euqoW ). He predicted increased gambling addiction, personal bankruptcies and traffic.
The clergy are promising to pray, preach and canvass to defeat the project, which goes before East Boston voters on Nov. 5.
Pedro Morales, 40, a Harvard Divinity School student from East Boston who is coordinating the effort, said the group ‘‘has not raised one dollar’’ to defeat the casino and does not expect to raise a lot of money for a campaign.
He said the group will fight the casino by repeating the message that ‘‘East Boston can do better’’ than a gambling business.
The group intends to collect more than 5,000 signatures on a petition asking Suffolk Downs to voluntarily withdraw its casino proposal.
Suffolk Downs, with partner Caesars Entertainment, has planned a $1 billion gambling resort at the track, with hotels, shopping, restaurants, a spa and other amenities.
The project is competing for the sole greater Boston casino license with a Wynn Resorts proposal on the Mystic River waterfront in Everett, and with a Foxwoods project in Milford.
Suffolk Downs officials declined to comment about the group.
Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.bostonglobe.com