Suffolk Downs

Suffolk Downs

Chip Bott

Deal Keeps Suffolk Downs Casino Hopes Alive

The city of Revere and casino partner Mohegan Sun have a host community agreement.

Mohegan Sun and the city of Revere, Mass., said Dec. 23 they have reached a host community agreement that would guarantee the city between $25 million and $30 million in revenue per year from a proposed casino at Suffolk Downs.

The deal also provides up to $33 million in pre-opening payments, about $40 million in infrastructure improvements, new athletic fields, guaranteed school funding, and money for public safety, a community center, and other benefits, according to a release from Suffolk Downs.

The deal is critical to the future of Suffolk Downs as a racetrack. Revere already approved the casino project for Suffolk Downs, but the community on which the majority of the racetrack property sits–East Boston–rejected location of a casino on track property.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission subsequently ruled another vote in Revere is necessary. Suffolk Downs and Mohegan Sun now plan a $1 billion resort casino on 42 of the track's 52 acres that sit in Revere; more than 100 acres of the property sit in East Boston.

There was no indication what Suffolk Downs plans to do with its barn area, which sits on the Revere side of the property.

"Mohegan Sun is going to create a wonderful destination that will both celebrate Revere's unique history and provide great opportunity for its future," said Mitchell Etess, chief executive officer of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. "This agreement formalizes the strong partnership we've quickly established with Revere, and lays out the many ways the city and its residents will benefit from Mohegan Sun Massachusetts."

Mohegan Sun has said it's not interested in racing at Suffolk Downs and prefers the current owners of the track handle the racing operation. Suffolk Downs has applied for 2014 racing dates but it remains to be seen whether the meet is held given the uncertainty over the casino development.

Even if Revere voters again approve the casino, the MGC must select a licensee for the Boston-area license.