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Suffolk Downs casino partnership with Mohegan Sun is official

Posted by Your Town  November 27, 2013 02:21 PM

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Suffolk Downs announced Wednesday afternoon that it will partner with Mohegan Sun on a resort casino proposed to be built on 42 acres of the racetrack’s 52-acre property in the city of Revere.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission also announced that Suffolk Downs and its casino plans are on the panel’s agenda for a meeting on Tuesday. The Globe reported the new partnership in Wednesday's paper.

Mohegan Sun, which operates casinos in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, had sought a casino license in western Massachusetts until voters in Palmer rejected their proposal earlier this month by less than 100 votes, an outcome that was confirmed Tuesday in a recount.

Suffolk Downs dropped its gaming partner Caesars following a state background check just prior to losing a critical vote in East Boston on Nov. 5, which prompted the track to draw up plans for a new casino just over the city line in Revere.

“Mohegan Sun and Suffolk Downs each began our pursuit of a place in the Massachusetts gaming industry in different ways and different locations. Circumstances brought us together in recent days, and we immediately recognized that something truly special can be created in Revere,” said Mitchell Etess, CEO of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority.

Mohegan Sun and its financial partner Brigade Capital Management, which brings a $15 billion investment, have already been found suitable along with Suffolk Downs by the gaming commission to compete for a license.

As part of the new agreement with Suffolk Downs to become a development partner and gaming operator, Mohegan Sun has agreed to honor all commitments previously made by the track in its host community agreement with Revere, and plans to work with Suffolk Downs to reach surrounding community agreements.

Even though the terms of the host community agreement are not being altered, the commission has not yet ruled on whether the referendum vote in Revere taken when the project still included development in East Boston can stand for a Revere-only project. If Suffolk Downs and Revere can get a casino proposal on track, they would compete with neighboring Everett for the casino license in eastern Massachusetts.

In a statement, Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo said he was “very encouraged” by the new partnership.

- M. Murphy/SHNS

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