Revere and Mohegan Sun Strike Casino Deal in Massachusetts

Posted on: December 29, 2013, 05:30h. 

Last updated on: December 25, 2013, 09:05h.

Revere Mohegan Sun Suffolk Downs
The city of Revere, Massachusetts could benefit financially if Mohegan Sun’s casino ever becomes a reality

There’s no guarantee that Suffolk Downs and the Mohegan Sun will be able to build a casino in the city of Revere, Massachusetts. In fact, the whole project still seems like a long shot to just about everyone who isn’t directly involved in promoting it. But should the city and the companies involved beat the odds, they’ll be exchanging a whole lot of money in the years to come.

Pay to Play

Mohegan Sun came to an agreement with the city of Revere that will see the casino firm pay the city $33 million up front, in exchange for allowing them to operate a casino at the Suffolk Downs racetrack; the billion-dollar project would feature 4,000 slot machines, 100 game tables, and a poker room . That would only be the first of many payments, however, as the casino would continue making annual payments to the city starting at a minimum of about $25 million to $30 million.

“This agreement is an extraordinary deal that will help us continue to make the transformation of Revere a reality,” said Mayor Daniel Rizzo.

The deal reflects the fact that Mohegan Sun would be the only operator under the current proposal for a casino on land owned by the race track. Suffolk Downs would serve simply as a landlord, rather than running the facility.

If you’ve been paying attention to the ongoing saga of the Suffolk Downs casino, you know that this is the second attempt to build a casino attached to the race track. The first attempt, which would have built a casino on the East Boston side of the line between Boston and Revere, was rejected by East Boston voters, even as Revere voters approved it.

That proposal would have been much less lucrative for Revere, which wouldn’t have hosted any of the major buildings attached to the facility. Under that host agreement, Revere was expected to receive a minimum of $9 million each year.

Revere Could Make Bank

Now, the city can expect to make at least three times that amount. In addition, Rizzo said that the host agreement language – which is expected to be made public soon – could allow the city to receive even higher payments if the casino manages to become extremely profitable.

The money raised through the payments would be used to provide tax relief for property owners in Revere, as well as to improve services and facilities throughout the city. Mohegan Sun pointed to these and other economic benefits – such as the thousands of jobs that could be created – as reasons why the deal would be a good one for the city.

“We’re going to drive a tremendous amount of prosperity for this city and lead to a huge upswing in the economic situation around here,” said Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority chief executive Mitchell Etess.

But despite the messaging, there are those who plan to organize in opposition to the Revere proposal. While Boston’s Mayor-Elect Martin J. Walsh says that he’s unsure if Boston has a legal right to stop the casino move – and that he would like to negotiate a surrounding community agreement with the casino developers – members of anti-casino group No Eastie Casino plan to work with those in Revere who oppose the casino to defeat the coming referendum. They’ll be joined by a group from Palmer – where Mohegan Sun has already lost a casino vote – that claims that the casino firm purposely lost the referendum there so that it could then try again in the more lucrative Greater Boston area.