Mohegan Sun Teaming Up with Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts
After a month that saw Suffolk Downs lose both its casino partner and a public referendum, the company announced today that it has acquired a new partnership with another casino company that failed to pass muster with voters, Mohegan Sun.
Myfoxboston.com reported that the two companies are moving forward with a proposal to put a new casino in Revere, Massachusetts.
Revere voters approved plan rejected by East Boston
Earlier this month, voters in Revere approved a plan put forward by Suffolk Downs to build a casino at the site of their historic East Boston racetrack.
That same plan was shot down by East Boston residents, many of whom expressed doubts about the development after the hasty exit from the proposal by Caesars Entertainment.
Caesars departed project at eleventh hour
Caesars and Suffolk Downs had established a partnership to build the casino, however Caesars was forced to abandon its Massachusetts hopes in the wake of a warning from state gaming regulators that the company was likely to be deemed unsuitable to operate in the state after a routine background investigation uncovered alleged criminal ties to an investor in a now-scrapped Nevada hotel redevelopment project that would have seen the old Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall on the Las Vegas Strip transformed into a western outpost of a trendy New York hotel, the Gansevoort.
On the heels of Suffolk Downs’ defeat in East Boston and its win in Revere, racetrack officials immediately announced plans to explore moving the entire project to Revere. At the same time, Suffolk Downs said it planned to move quickly to enter into a partnership with another casino operator, something it has achieved with its Mohegan Sun deal.
“This is a historic day for the City of Revere, Suffolk Downs and all of New England. By choosing Mohegan Sun as our resort casino developer and operator, we bring new energy and excitement to our pursuit of a gaming license – and a leader and premier brand in resort casino gaming that has been hugely successful in New England for 17 years,” Richard Fields said in a statement. He is the principal owner of Suffolk Downs, an East Boston fixture dating back to 1935.
Mohegan Sun also lost at the polls
Mohegan Sun, which runs a large tribal casino in neighboring Connecticut, also failed to gain traction with Massachusetts voters. It lost at a public referendum in Palmer, where it had planned to develop a new Las Vegas-style casino resort.
Under the terms of a law passed in 2011 that allows land-based casino expansion in the Bay State, before Massachusetts gaming regulators are willing to consider applications for licensing, all plans must be approved by local voters. The final application deadline is coming up quickly – December 31 – with final decisions expected to be handed down in the early part of next year.
Massachusetts will be awarding three new casino licenses. Two new full-scale casino resorts will be permitted in the state; one in the greater Boston metropolitan area and one in the western part of the state. Additionally, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will be conferring one license for a slots only casino.
The winner of the slots-only license is expected to be announced in January, with the other two to follow in April of 2014.