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New mayor Walsh delves into casino debate

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Two casino companies pitching gambling projects on the Boston border have drawn their proposals to avoid touching even a grain of Boston soil, denying the city the leverage to demand a ransom of cash payments and other benefits as a “host community.”

But new Mayor Martin Walsh is not ready to concede host city rights for either project. In his first action on the casino issue, Walsh has petitioned the state gambling commission for time to further investigate grounds for greater negotiating rights that could be worth tens of millions of dollars.

The developers, Wynn Resorts and Mohegan Sun, have proposed casinos within a dice throw of the Boston city line, in Everett and in Revere.

By building up to — but not over — the city border, the developers intend to avoid making Boston a host community for their projects. Both companies say they consider Boston a “surrounding community” under the state casino law, a lesser designation that would allow the city to negotiate for compensation, but without much leverage to drive a rich deal or the right to hold a public referendum on the project.

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