Winthrop Residents Watch Casino Vote

The big news in the region and the state this week was Revere residents’ overwhelming support (63 to 37 percent) for the proposed $1.3 billion Mohegan Sun resort/casino for the Suffolk Downs site. It’s evident that the majority of Revere residents want the casino and enthusiastically anticipate the funds (a $33 million pre-opening payment to Revere) and the estimated 4,000 permanent jobs that will be created by the development.

Of course, now the contest for the Greater Boston-area casino license begins between Mohegan Sun and the Wynn Resort casino project that is proposed for the former Monsanto site in Everett. The Mass. Gaming Commission said this week that it expects to make that huge decision by June 30. The Commission will grant the only “slot parlor” license Friday to one of the three applicants, Plainville, Leominster or Raynham.

From Winthrop’s perspective, the Mohegan Sun casino at Suffolk Downs took a big step toward becoming a reality with Tuesday’s vote in Revere. Winthrop has been designated a “surrounding community” from the very beginning of the casino licensing process. Our State House delegation of Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo and State Sen. Anthony Petruccelli thankfully had the foresight to insure Winthrop’s key designation. Town Manager James McKenna exhibited his decisive leadership on this vital issue to Winthrop residents and brought in a legal expertise team to enter negotiations with Mohegan Sun/Suffolk Downs officials to determine a financial package for the town in regard to the impacts that the resort/casino will have on our town. The City of Chelsea, which was also designated a “surrounding community” to the casino, will receive an annual $2.5 million payment when the casino opens — and Winthrop residents are awaiting the end result of the town’s legal team’s negotiations with Suffolk — to see what Winthrop will receive in annual payments.

From the beginning of this process, we noted the magnitude of the decisions by the Gaming Commission and how Winthrop residents would be following this very, very closely. We can only imagine Winthrop’s interest and the overall excitement here and throughout the state on June 30 when the Greater Boston casino license recipient is announced. It will be one of the “stories of the year” in Massachusetts, and especially in this region of the state.

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