Commission Grants Racing License to Suffolk

Officials note the racing industry is playing waiting game for 2014.

Suffolk Downs was granted a racing license Nov. 14 for 2014 based on its intent to offer live Thoroughbred racing.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission also approved 2014 licenses for two Standardbred entitiesSpringfield Gaming & Redevelopment and Brockton Racingbut as with Suffolk Downs it noted the uncertainty brought about by all three parties' pursuit of gaming licenses.

Suffolk Downs was dealt a double blow when it lost its gaming partner for the casino development and a referendum in East Boston, where most of its property is located. It is attempting to alter its plan and build the gaming facility on about 50 acres it owns in neighboring Revere, where a referendum on gaming passed Nov. 5.

The track requested 100 racing days from June 2-Nov. 28. It also received MGC approval for year-round full-card simulcasts.

Suffolk Downs chief operating officer Chip Tuttle has said the track intends to offer live racing next year but offered no guarantees.

"We basically will cross the bridge when we get to it," said MGC chairman Stephen Crosby, who noted the uncertainty while tracks wait to see if they will win gaming licenses. "In all three cases we just say 'yes' or 'no,' and then we'll see what happens."

Springfield Gaming & Redevelopment is a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming Inc., which has an agreement to purchase Plainridge Racecourse should it win the license for the lone slot-machine parlor in Massachusetts. Plainridge put in for 100 days of harness racing in 2014.

Brockton Racing is controlled by George Carney, who owns Raynham Greyhound Parknow a simulcast-only facilityand wants to build a slots parlor there. Carney has said if he wins the license, he will spend $5 million or more to renovate the Brockton Fairgrounds to accommodate harness racing on its half-mile track.