Voters Say No to Suffolk Casino

November 6, 2013
By

On November 5, 1757 Frederick the Great, outnumbered two to one by France and the Holy Roman Empire, defeated the larger force at the Battle of Rossbach.

Here in Eastie on November 5, 2013 a small group of concerned citizens and activists defeated the march larger and more well financed Suffolk Downs Racetrack on the casino issue.
Eastie residents voted down the ward-only casino referendum 4291 to 3345 Tuesday. What was once touted as a ‘sure thing’ among many political operatives and casino supporters quickly fell out of favor last month after Suffolk Down’s severed ties with Caesar’s Entertainment. After dropping Caesar’s it seemed all the momentum was behind the anti-casino movement and those residents on the fence broke to the anti-casino side.
Suffolk Downs attempted to move forward without a gaming partner but in the eyes of many Eastie voters it was too late and many could not, in good conscience, vote in favor of a casino in Eastie without knowing who would run the gaming operation.
While Suffolk Downs could have gone back to the drawing board and renegotiate another host community agreement if the vote was held earlier this year it seems the clock on a casino deal in Eastie has run out. The deadline for the final casino application is due December 31 and Suffolk Downs would have to have renegotiate another agreement and hold another vote in 60 days, which is now impossible.
Left on the table is $10 million to $20 million for Eastie under the host community agreement with the city.
  • SkipDiv77

    While Caesars having to drop out was a factor to me the real reason the casino received a no vote is the community was well educated on the impact of a casino in an urban setting. Hard to also trust Chip Tuttle’s judgement and ability to enforce the mitigation agreement considering he partnered with the likes of Caesars and Vornado. I do give credit to the Eastie Times for their coverage in recent weeks

  • sandra

    They can use Caesar’s being dropped all they want, but, bottom line… we do not want a Casino in our City .It was being shoved down our throats. We had the votes and we knew it…. A lot of people who work for the City couldn’t say they weren’t voting no but did. Go away with Menino, Chip your days at Suffolk Downs and empty promises are over. The Politician’s thought they had it in the bag. I really thought this smelled like a rat from the beginning! Just goes to show you that Resident of East Boston has had enough thrown down our throats and we are not going to take anymore. 3 tunnels, Oil tanks, Airport, Rt. 1A traffic, I was so happy last night when I saw the results.

  • SylviaP

    Looks like last laugh will be on no eastie casino. Tuttle now basically saying “screw east boston, we don’t need them. I’ll just move the whole damn thing to revere where we’re wanted. And east boston will get all the crap that comes with my casino (crime, dui, traffic, etc) but we now won’t have to pay them a dime in benefits!”

  • SkipDiv

    Highly doubt that Sylvia, the mayor elect mentioned he will talk to Wynn about the one in Everett, there are so many issues with what Suffolkd Downs proposed that I doubt the commission will pick them, especially considering fact Eastie voted against it

  • Webster_Street

    This won’t fly unless 1) Suffolk Downs can get a new plan/proposal submitted prior to the December deadline, 2) Suffolk Downs agrees to honor the current host city agreement with Revere, and 3) Suffolk Downs can fully-negotiate a surrounding city mitigation agreement with Boston, which our new mayor may or may not support given the strong “NO” vote in Eastie. Satisfying all three would be difficult, if not impossible. Keep in mind that the “Revere-only” casino would presumably be much smaller and therefore unable to support the pie in the sky projections/payments from the original agreement. I suspect that making any changes to the existing deal with Revere would trigger a re-vote for approval (again, prior to the December deadline). As if all these challenges aren’t enough, Suffolk Downs still needs a partner that is okay proceeding with all of these serious issues/flaws and is willing to move into a market that overwhelmingly voted against having a casino as a neighbor. Not an easy sell. Finally, I can’t imagine the Mass Gaming Commission ignoring the will of East Boston voters and allowing the project to simply move over the Revere line – there is simply too much publicity with the vote results.

    Face it, Tuttle is being a fear monger, just like when he threatened to put public housing on the site if the casino isn’t approved.

  • Horsem

    Wow all the jobs you folks just cost individuals and not just the casino but every single person that worked or raced at the track. You missed the bigger picture Good by to preserved farm lands which owners will sell to developers to survive Workers having to uproot themselves to go find work out of state after many years. I can’t wait for them to sell the land and you all have to live with bigger problems and traffic and crime Maybe a nice big parking gargae for the airport how attractive and all the traffic that should pretty up the city Both sides could have worked a solution rather than puffing out the chests.

  • SylviaP

    You can be assured, where this is a will, there is a way. SD clearly has the will.

  • nick

    They voted against it based on shaky info coming from the No Eastie Casino crowd. I’d be willing to bet that if the NEC folks had let voters know that this move to Revere would have been a possible outcome of a “no” vote, they would have voted differently.

    The NEC group should either admit they hadn’t thought about this possible outcome (ignorance) or they knew about it and didn’t tell voters (deceptively hiding critical info from voters).

  • Webster_Street

    How could the NEC folks, or any voter for that matter, be expected to plan for every contingency/iteration that could possibly come from Suffolk Downs? What the voters were presented with was an up or down vote on a casino in East Boston. We all know what the results were. The ballot question didn’t read, “Would you still oppose a casino in East Boston if, upon defeat in a local referendum vote, the proposed casino might potentially relocate to Revere, with a design TBD, an operator TBD, and a surrounding community agreement with Boston TBD?” I doubt there are many “no” voters in Eastie that are rethinking their vote at this point.

    Suffolk Downs is now like a horse with two legs. If you think for a minute that SD can/will honor the original host community agreement they cut with Revere (along with all the transportation/infrastructure improvements that go along with it) AND find a partner to buy off on the same, you’re in for a disappointment. The smaller Revere-only casino simply won’t be able to bear the burden of what was promised to Revere. Both Dan Rizzo and Chip Tuttle are simply embarrassing themselves at this point.

  • nick

    “I doubt there are many “no” voters in Eastie that are rethinking their vote at this point”

    I didn’t have to go far to find voices of regret. I asked four friends/neighbors today who voted “no” and three of the four now regret it given the prospect the whole project may now just move to Revere.

  • Maureen

    The move to Revere was not discussed as a possible outcome because it is ILLEGAL. The ballot did not ask about the plan they are currently trying to float. They cannot just change their proposal after the fact, no matter how desperate they may be. We all voted on the proposal they have been shopping around for the past year. They needed both communities to vote yes in order to proceed, according to the law. They lost. Game over.

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