Mass. Gaming Commission Says Suffolk Downs Needs to Hold New Casino Vote in Revere

Massachusetts gambling regulators voted unanimously Tuesday to allow a casino proposal at Suffolk Downs race track to go forward. But there’s a hitch.

An earlier proposal from Suffolk Downs to build a casino on the border of Boston and Revere was approved by Revere voters but rejected by East Boston voters. So the track regrouped and introduced a plan to build a casino just on the Revere side of the property.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission okayed that, but said Revere needs to hold another citywide referendum on the new plan.

“In a deeply imperfect and challenging situation, I think this is about as creative and fair a solution as one could come up with,” said Stephen Crosby, the commission’s chair.

Casino opponent Celeste Myers says the gaming commission should not have allowed Suffolk Downs to proceed without the support of East Boston.

“They should have told these folks it’s a failed application. Go back to the drawing board,” Myers said. “The goal of the gaming commission is to maintain the integrity of the process. They’re off on the wrong foot.”

Myers said her group is considering its legal options.

Dan Rizzo, the mayor of revere, said the city remains excited about a Suffolk Downs Casino.

“I’m very, very hopeful and confident when they do go back out and vote that they vote in the same numbers in the same way they did back on November 5th,” Rizzo said.

Revere voters approved the initial plan 61 to 39 percent. The new referendum will likely be scheduled for the middle of February.

The only other contender for the sole Eastern Massachusetts casino license is a Wynn resort proposed in Everett.