Name calling out of hand at Mashpee Wampanoag casino hearing in Taunton
How Baker-Polito stacks up - Commission delays ruling on Suffolk Downs - Ballot question would mandate nurse-patient ratios - Tiny cut in state income tax next year
And this is only one of today's top stories.
- STICKS AND STONES: According to Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Vice Chairwoman Jessie "Little Doe" Baird, there were certain kinds of people at last night's Bureau of Indian Affairs hearing about the tribe's plan to build a casino in Taunton: tribal members and their allies - okay, fine - "NIMBYs" - as you would expect - "xenophobes" and "skinheads" - hey now! You can image that casino opponents weren't thrilled with the characterization and some casino opponents said they found Baird’s comments unfair.. - The Taunton Gazette.
CROSBY FLABBERGASTED: Mass. gaming commission delays ruling on Suffolk Downs plan. The new proposal makes Suffolk Downs the landlord and Mohegan Sun a tenant. Both will be operating, technically, as stand-alone entities. - Boston Business Journal.
Dec 4, 2013, 6:06am EST
Mass. gaming commission delays ruling on Suffolk Downs plan
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has delayed for another week its ruling on whether a casino can open at the Suffolk Downs Racetrack in Revere, citing new and significant revisions to the proposal since it was first presented.
The commission was scheduled to make a decision yesterday on the project involving Suffolk Downs and Mohegan Sun.
The new proposal makes Suffolk Downs the landlord and Mohegan Sun a tenant. Both will be operating, technically, as stand-alone entities. The original proposal called for a joint project at the Suffolk Downs racetrack primarily in East Boston, not Revere.
Also, the original application for a gaming license on Suffolk Downs property was submitted by Suffolk Downs itself and not its casino partner at the time, Caesars Entertainment. This time Mohegan Sun is the sole applicant for a resort casino license.
"I am troubled by the dramatic change in the content of the agreement, from the agreement that was before the voters when they voted," said Commissioner John McHugh inside room 151 at the Boston Convention Center.
McHugh spoke highly of the proposed project in Revere but continued to express concern about allowing the process for awarding Suffolk Downs a gaming license to go forward at all.
Commissioner Gayle Cameron noted that the only one person from Revere contacted the commission in opposition to the project because of the post-vote change. She called this a sign of support, not opposition, to the proposed changes. Commission Chair Stephen Crosby agreed.
"I am flabbergasted that we haven't heard from anybody," said Crosby.
Opponents of the proposed project did not speak before the commission at Tuesday's hearing.
"There's nothing fair about this any way you cut it. Somebody is going to feel like the outcome isn't fair here," said Crosby.
The move of the project from the East Boston side of Suffolk Downs to the Revere side is not the only hurdle the casino faces. Mohegan Sun was vetted by the commission as a potential operator in Palmer not Revere. Supporters of the Palmer casino, in attendance today, were miffed by what they feel was a strategic maneuver by Mohegan Sun to block a casino from their region in order to protect their establishment nearby in Connecticut.
"They sold Palmer, the gaming commission, a bill of goods so they could be found suitable so they could actually come out to Boston where they want to be and bypass western Massachusetts," said Robert Young, spokesman for Palmer Businesses for a Palmer Casino.
Another hurdle Suffolk Downs is facing is the divide between the racing operation and the casino operation now that the two entities are split operationally as well as financially on paper. "Our commitment to racing remains. With Mohegan Sun as the applicant that doesn't change our commitment to racing. We've been working hard, we've invested millions and millions of dollars in racing over the last six years and if there is gaming development on the property we're going to continue to invest in racing," said Chip Tuttle, COO of Suffolk Downs.
Suffolk Downs and Mohegan Sun have only provided renderings of the proposed project in Revere. Mitchell Etess of Mohegan Sun said that more specific details like gaming space, hotel rooms, and more will be released in the coming weeks. "We're encouraged today by what happened and we're going to keep the pedal to metal and keep going," said Etess.
Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo echoed the optimism expressed by Etess and Tuttle. "I am very hopeful that the commission will rule to allow us to go forward and get into the phase 2 application process," said Rizzo.
Former Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly, acting as the outside counsel from Cooley Manion Jones for Suffolk Downs, said it is important the commission gets the ruling on the project right.
"It's important to you, it's important to us, and it's certainly important to the state," said Reilly.
Reilly was brought on to look at Mohegan Sun by Suffolk Downs in the days after the November election.
The date for the ruling on the Suffolk Downs casino project is not set but the committee is slated to meet on Dec. 12 at the Boston Convention Center.