Boston Moves Forward on Casino Development at Suffolk Downs

Massachusetts Gaming

By Abim Thomas and Christopher J. Somma

The City of Boston entered into a historic agreement that is projected to bring approximately $52 million in annual revenue to the city, $50 million in annual local spending and a guaranteed 4,000 jobs.  As part of the agreement, reached on Aug. 27, 2013, East Boston is expected to receive an upfront payment of $33.4 million to fund community improvement projects and could receive up to an additional $20 million annually.

Boston’s Host Community Advisory Committee recommended an agreement for development of a $1 billion resort style destination gaming establishment at Suffolk Downs.  This long-awaited deal allows the Suffolk Downs proposal to move towards a referendum vote. The proposed project will create an additional 16 acres of open space and reduce the 12 acres of pavement that presently exist at Suffolk Downs.

This development will also connect neighborhoods and visitors to the area via pedestrian walkways, bikeways and open spaces accessible 24 hours a day. The agreement commits to an early opening after 14 months from the start of construction to a full opening after an additional 12 months. The agreement also commits to continued operation of the race track at Suffolk Downs as well as a 50% hiring policy for Boston residents.

Under the Host Community Agreement, the developer will invest $1 billion to construct a resort style destination gaming establishment consisting of two distinct gaming areas, two luxury hotels, entertainment space, retail space, a spa, and a seven-story parking garage.

The next steps as outlined by state law include the proponent sending the request to the City of Boston for a vote to be set. A referendum vote on the signed agreement must take place in the host community 60-90 days after signing of the agreement.

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