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Sun's casino proposal to go to Revere, Mass., voters

Published December 28. 2013 4:00AM
Referendum date of Feb. 25 set for Suffolk Downs bid

Mohegan Sun's plan to develop a $1 billion resort casino in Revere, Mass., will be put to a referendum vote there Tuesday, Feb. 25, Mohegan Sun and its partner in the project, Suffolk Downs, announced Friday.

Revere voters will be asked to approve or reject a "host community agreement" Mohegan Sun reached earlier with Revere officials.

The deal would guarantee the city between $25 million and $30 million in annual revenue with the potential for the payments to eventually exceed $40 million a year. It also calls for up to $33 million in upfront payments, approximately $45 million in infrastructure improvements, new athletic fields, guaranteed school funding and money for public safety, a community center and other benefits.

"The level of excitement this project is creating and the support we are getting from people all over Revere is remarkable," Mitchell Etess, the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority's chief executive officer, said in a statement. "We're going to work hard to earn the approval of voters in the same way we are working hard to create an amazing destination and deliver a winning application to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission."

Revere voters approved an earlier Suffolk Downs casino proposal that would have been located in Revere and East Boston, but East Boston voters rejected it. Since then, Mohegan Sun and Suffolk Downs have joined to plan a casino that would be located entirely in Revere.

The Mohegan Sun proposal and a $1.2 billion project proposed for Everett by Wynn Resorts would compete for the sole Greater Boston casino license the gaming commission is expected to award in 2014.

In a written decision released Friday, the commission cleared the company run by Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn to continue pursuing the license, saying Wynn Resorts had provided "clear and convincing evidence that it meets the standards for suitability."

The commission's investigative arm had previously recommended the company be found suitable after a lengthy background check that included a review of Wynn's operations in the Chinese territory of Macau and issues surrounding a land deal Wynn negotiated with the owners of the proposed casino site in Everett.

Commissioners praised Wynn Macau for establishing policies and protocols for so-called junket operators and overall "responsible business practices" in the world's most lucrative gambling market. Junket operators recruit from the mainland for gambling in VIP rooms in Macau's casinos, often providing credit to players. They have gotten the attention of regulators because of alleged connections to organized crime.

Mohegan Sun and Wynn must submit final applications to the commission by Tuesday.

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