Suffolk Downs May Run into Time Issue with Boston Casino Plan

A partnership between Suffolk Downs and Caesars to build a casino in East Boston may be running up against the clock, as they have yet to enter into a community host agreement.

After reaching such an accord with the city, the host agreement must then be put to a public vote before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will accept a license application.

Those applications are due on the 31st of December, according to the Boston Herald.

Who will be eligible to vote on agreement is at issue

One of the issues facing the project, which, if voters and state gaming officials approve, will be located at Suffolk Downs’ East Boston racetrack, is whether everyone in the city ought to be eligible to vote in the public referendum or whether it will be restricted only to the East Boston neighborhood.

“They can’t wait much longer. They really need to sign something so they can have the election, wherever it’s going to be,” Boston College’s Reverend Richard McGowan told the paper.

Small window left to reach agreement and hold election

Once the city and the companies have struck a host agreement, they will be required to schedule a public vote within 60 to 90 days, leaving very little time before the December 31st application deadline looms.

John Payne, an executive for Caesars who is working on the Suffolk Downs undertaking, commented, “We continue to have productive conversations with city officials and look forward to continuing our work with the mayor and his team.”

Host agreements generally deal with issues surrounding the construction and ongoing needs presented by the casino. Such issues as infrastructure like roads and public transit are addressed, as are issues of taxation and the need for additional police and fire protection. Oftentimes subjects like dealing with problem gambling and crime are also part of the host agreement.

Other companies have already met with success at the polls

As the race to gain a much-coveted casino license in the Bay State reaches its final stretch, two large Nevada gaming companies have already received overwhelming support at the polls.

Back in June, the Wynn Company celebrated a victory in a public referendum held in Everett, an industrial city bordering Boston proper where the company plans to build one of its signature bronze curtain glass towers on a polluted piece of land on the Mystic River.

Eighty-seven percent of voters there turned out to support Wynn’s project, which has been billed as a means of bringing jobs to Everett. The Wynn Company has promised that they will not only clean up the land where they plan to build, which was left environmentally unsound due to being the site of a Monsanto chemical facility for many years, but will also construct the finest hotel in the Boston area.

“The voters of Everett have spoken clearly and decisively. The vote heightens our enthusiasm and dedication to this fine project. We thank the voters for their support and making all our efforts so easy,” Steve Wynn said back in June after his resounding win in Everett.

Last month, MGM Entertainment also came away from a public referendum bearing a smile, when voters in Springfield, Massachusetts, approved their plan to construct an $800 million casino resort property in that city.

The state of Massachusetts will be granting two land-based casino licenses, one for Boston and one for the western region of the state, in addition to one license for a slots-only gambling parlor.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on,, and

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