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Volume 24 No. 159


Suffolk Downs has “lined up Caesars Entertainment to manage a glitzy $600 million gaming resort planned for the East Boston racetrack in a blockbuster deal that signals smart Vegas money is betting big on legalized casinos” in Massachusetts, according to sources cited by Hillary Chabot of the BOSTON HERALD. Sources said that officials are “close to completing a contract” with Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman and “could announce a deal as soon as this week.” A source said that Suffolk Downs “would retain control of all aspects of the potential casino development, including licensing and building the property.” Caesars Entertainment would “mainly manage the casino resort, while Suffolk Downs will maintain ownership.” Suffolk Downs COO Chip Tuttle in July announced plans to “construct a $600 million gambling facility that would include a 400- to 600-room hotel, casino, spa, restaurants and shops.” The plan would “pack additional gaming, restaurants and retailers into an existing 800,000 square-foot grandstand, which would be renovated and include a clubhouse” (BOSTON HERALD, 4/14).

DEADLINE LOOMING: In New Jersey, Brennan & Reitmeyer note Gov. Chris Christie yesterday “expressed some skepticism” that New York real estate investor Jeff Gural “would be able to meet Friday’s deadline to complete a deal to take over the Meadowlands Racetrack.” The deal “appears to be the only way for the 35-year-old track to keep running a live card beyond a handful of dates this summer.” Gural said the deadline is a “drop dead date.” Both he and Christie “agreed there was no point in extending efforts beyond this Friday.” Gural said that he and his partners “expect to lose about $10 million to $12 million until a new, smaller grandstand can open in early 2013” (Bergen RECORD, 4/14).

In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman notes there is “a lot of pessimism about the possibility of getting a Vikings stadium bill passed in the current Legislature,” but Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton “made it clear he still believes there is a chance of something happening.” Dayton: "We can structure a deal in such a way that there's little or no cost in terms of any kind of sales tax or whatever. That ought to be our goal: no general fund money. Paid off by the users of the stadium, people who benefit from the stadium." Dayton “sees no chance of passing a bill without a roof.” He said having the Vikings in Minneapolis is “what makes us a big-league city,” and not passing a stadium bill “would be very short-sighted” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/14). 

(ALMOST) ALL IN FAVOR: In Ottawa, Chianello, Adam & Singer report the city and its partner in the Lansdowne Park redevelopment -- the Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group -- have “settled their differences with 11 of the 14 parties appealing the plan to the Ontario Municipal Board in an agreement that sees some significant physical changes to the project.” The settlement includes giving C$300,000 to Ottawa's Glebe Business Improvement Area and C$30,000 to community groups to “help them through what will surely be a disrupting construction session when the Lansdowne project gets under way.” The city and OSEG will “split the cost equally.” Settling means OSEG and the city “avoid a costly OMB hearing, which brings with it an uncertain outcome, as well as a possible delay for the project” (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 4/14). 

SLOW DRIVING: In Charlotte, Kerry Hall Singe notes the NASCAR HOF “continued to lose money in February, although it was less than organizers expected.” Organizers had “expected a loss of more than $151,000,” but the facility “ran a deficit of $127,440.” The HOF “reached a new low in attendance” that month, drawing 12,391 (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/14).

HOOP DREAMS: In Milwaukee, Michael Hunt noted Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in a couple of weeks “will begin looking at pre-designs for an on-campus basketball facility.” UWM AD Rick Costello said that he is “committed to raising the money to get UWM basketball back on campus,” whether it is “an expansion of the Klotsche Center or the construction of a new building to meet” the Horizon League’s minimum standard of 5,000 seats. Hunt noted students “have said they’re willing to pay a new fee” for the project, but a “good chunk of the $68 million or so for a basketball facility would have to come from private funds” (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 4/13).