Suffolk Asks Casino Partner to Vacate Project

Move came after track received investigative information on Caesars' suitability.

Just three weeks before critical local referendums on casino gambling at Suffolk Downs, the racetrack asked partner Caesars Entertainment to resign from the proposed destination resort casino development.

Suffolk Downs told Caesars in an Oct. 18 letter it received information from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on the casino company's "suitability" based on an investigation. In the letter, Suffolk Downs chief operating officer Chip Tuttle said the track "hereby requests that Caesars agree to resign as the manager (of the project) under the management agreement and to take such other reasonable steps as may be necessary to cause the removal of Caesars from the Suffolk Downs gaming license application."

The MGC presented its findings to Suffolk Downs Oct. 18. It didn't reveal details of the Caesars background check.

Caesars Entertainment is licensed in numerous states and countries either outright or through various partnerships. It also owns several U.S. racetracks including Louisiana Downs and Turfway Park.

On Nov. 5 the host communities of East Boston and Revere will vote on the Suffolk Downs casino proposal. At some point after that the MGC will select one of three applicants for the casino license for the Boston region.

Suffolk Downs intends to move forward with its plans for a gaming resort.

"Based on recent information and the briefing we received from the investigative bureau of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, we are confident that Suffolk Downs will be deemed suitable for licensing as we work to earn a gaming license in the commonwealth," Tuttle said in a statement provided Oct. 19. "As a result of the briefing, we have asked our management partner, Caesars Entertainment, to withdraw as a qualifier from our license application. We will immediately begin a public communications initiative to notify our host communities of this change.

"We look forward to the next phases of the public process to bring to fruition our proposal to develop a world-class destination resort casino on our 161-acre property that will be an economic generator for our two host communities of (East) Boston and Revere."

The racetrack already has agreements with the two host communities in regard to their share of gaming revenue.