• Suffolk Downs referendum date quickly approaches, no operator in sight


    BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) – A referendum on a possible casino at Suffolk Downs is set for Nov. 5, but people are already voting on the project.

    The Boston Elections Commission confirms 194 absentee ballots were requested for the East Boston neighborhood on the casino question. They went out on Oct. 15, and 93 have already been returned.

    Earlier this month, Suffolk Downs dropped Caesar's from its bid to build a one billion dollar casino resort at the racetrack. It came after the Mass. Gaming Commission's report flagged Caesar's $24 billion in debt and a Caesar's associate's reputed ties to the Russian mob.

    The Secretary of State's office told FOX 25 the vote isn't going to be postponed, despite the fact Suffolk Downs isn't sure who it will have as a gaming partner.

    "It's clearly complicated. This is a big change. The election is soon. The applicant, Suffolk Downs, may not know for sure even on Nov. 5 who their operator is going to be. It's a legitimate topic of concern," said gaming commission chairman Stephen Crosby.

    Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Mass. Gaming Commission will hold a hearing on the suitability of the project and will discuss a vote on it.

    Caesar's, along with Steve Wynn, have criticized the gaming commission as having unreasonable standards for developers.

    Wynn said he was "flabbergasted" by their finding and called the gaming commission "freshmen" with a "preoccupation that maybe a gangster will get in" in relation to his proposed casino in Everett.

    Crosby said he doesn't have any intention of relaxing the standards and doesn't feel any pressure to do so.

    "The legislature set the broad parameters, saying integrity is job one," said Crosby.

    FOX 25 reached out to the Everett Mayor's office, but they had no comment. Wynn Resorts also said they have nothing to say on the Suffolk Downs hearing. They did say they "have no reason to believe they will have any issue being found suitable."

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