A casino may be in Everett’s future, but horse racing will soon be a thing of Boston’s past: the Suffolk Downs racetrack will be closing as a result of the state gaming commission’s vote to give Wynn Resorts the casino license over Mohegan Sun.
Mohegan Sun and Suffolk Downs teamed up on the proposal, which would have put a resort and casino on Suffolk’s property. This would have given a big cash boost to the struggling racetrack. Without it, Suffolk COO Chip Tuttle said in a statement, the track cannot survive.
“We are extraordinarily disappointed as this action is likely to cost the Commonwealth thousands of jobs, small business and family farms,’’ Tuttle said. “We will be meeting with employees and horsemen over the next several days to talk about how we wind down racing operations as a 79-year legacy of Thoroughbred racing in Massachusetts will be coming to an end, resulting in unemployment and uncertainty for many hard-working people.’’
Gayle Cameron said she considered the future of Suffolk Downs when she made her decision, and that it was “an important piece of my evaluation.’’ Cameron, Bruce Stebbins, and Enrique Zuniga voted for the Wynn plan.
Suffolk Downs was one of just two horse racetracks in the state and the only thoroughbred track. It staked its future on casino legislation in the state, spending $3.275 million on lobbyists alone between 2007 and 2013. A big bet, and one that the race track — and its employees — have now apparently lost.