Mass. gambling panel approves waiver allowing Revere casino vote
BOSTON (AP) -- State gambling regulators cleared the way Thursday for a vote on a Revere-only casino plan after an earlier proposal for a development on the Boston-Revere border was rejected by voters in the East Boston neighborhood.
The five-member Massachusetts Gaming Commission unanimously approved a request by Mohegan Sun and the city of Revere for a waiver from a rule that requires casino applicants to submit certified referendum results by Dec. 31.
Commissioners voted last week to allow Mohegan Sun to seek such a waiver, keeping alive the company's 11th-hour bid to develop a casino that would be built entirely on land owned by Suffolk Downs in Revere.
Boston officials, in a letter sent to the commission on Wednesday, opposed granting the waiver.
Stephen Crosby, the panel's chairman, said it was trying to come up with the fairest solution to the problem posed by the conflicting votes cast on Nov. 5.
"We have wrestled hard with trying to figure out how to reconcile the no vote in East Boston with the yes vote in Revere and there is no perfect solution," Crosby said before Thursday's action.
The waiver was critical because it would not have been possible for Mohegan Sun and Revere officials to negotiate a new host community agreement and schedule another referendum before the Dec. 31 deadline for final resort casino applications to be submitted to the state. Under the new timetable, Mohegan Sun would still file its application by the end of the year, and the referendum would take place within the next 60 to 90 days.
Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo has expressed confidence that voters in his city will back the revised plan. If that is the case, the proposal will likely compete for the sole eastern Massachusetts resort casino license with a plan by Wynn Resorts for a development along the Mystic River in Everett.
The letter from Boston's law department said the city opposed waiving any of the requirements previously in place for Mohegan Sun and Suffolk Downs.
"The integrity of the East Boston vote must be respected and maintained," stated the letter signed by Elizabeth Dello Russo, senior assistant corporation counsel in the administration of retiring Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.
The letter complained that the city had not been provided with a copy of the waiver request, which was posted on the commission's website on Thursday.
Menino was a strong supporter of the earlier casino plan by Suffolk Downs. Mayor-elect Martin Walsh, who takes office next month, has not ruled out the possibility of legal action by the city against the Revere-only casino proposal.