SBD/June 5, 2013/Facilities

Suffolk Downs Casino Efforts Stalled As Debate Continues Over Payment To City

Suffolk Downs must negotiate payments with both Boston and Revere
Suffolk Downs negotiators last week "walked out of a casino bargaining session" with city of Boston officials, and the "two sides -- long considered allies in the gambling development -- remain 'miles apart' on how much money a casino" at the horse racing facility should pay to the city, according to sources cited by Mark Arsenault of the BOSTON GLOBE. The pact is an "essential part of the application process, and must be completed at least 60 days before the casino proposal can go before the voters in a legally required referendum." Suffolk Downs and its partner, Caesars Entertainment, have been working on their $1B resort casino plan "for years, and talks with the city date back many months." The extended negotiations are "now allowing another competitor, Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn, to leapfrog Suffolk Downs in the state’s lengthy application process." Wynn "confirmed he was interested in the property last November, and signed a deal" in April that will pay the city of Everett, Mass., about $25M a year. Everett residents "will vote on the project June 22, the first commercial casino proposal to go to the ballot" since the state legalized casino gambling in late '11. Suffolk Downs "straddles the Boston-Revere city line, requiring the thoroughbred track to negotiate host agreements with both cities, and the project must be approved by referendum votes in both communities." A source said that the track’s negotiations with Revere "are complete." The state gambling commission is "expected to choose the winner" in early '14 (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/5).

CANADIAN BEEF? In Ottawa, Jon Willing writes Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk, in a "strongly worded written statement, roughs up" city Mayor Jim Watson "and his call for council to support the Rideau Carleton Raceway as the only adequate location for a new casino being sought" by the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corp. Melnyk said Scotiabank Place is a "highly logical and reasonable alternative." He said a casino at Scotiabank Place could generate "an incremental $40-50 million" in gaming revenue compared to Rideau Carleton (OTTAWA SUN, 6/5).
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