Mohegan Sun promises 'amazing' Revere, Mass. casino

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December 2, 2013, 5:00 pm
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UPDATE (6:52 p.m.) - Revere City Councilors have voted 9-0 in favor of resolution for casino to be all in Revere.

(NECN: Peter Howe, Revere, Mass.) Five days after being named the new casino operator for Suffolk Downs, Mohegan Sun's chief executive promised Monday that "it's going to be a national and international tourist destination" with ocean and horse-track views.

"Can I tell you exactly what it's going to look like? No," Mohegan CEO Mitchell Etess said during a press conference at City Hall. "We've only been doing it for four or five days."

"We have a general concept of what it would be like, the flow of the location. I can tell you there'll be views of the race track. I can tell you that we know there will be two hotels there. But it's still a little preliminary to give you the exact details of all these things," Etess said, adding: "It's an amazing opportunity, and this is clearly an amazing location. I mean, you can't have a better location, I don't think, for a casino in the commonwealth."

This is now a very different project from what Revere voters approved Nov.5, the same day East Boston voted no: The casino's been shifted from Eastie to Revere, it's now entirely separate from the race track instead of being tightly integrated with it, and Suffolk Downs is to be a landlord, not an owner. The project is 60/40 being developed by Brigade Capital and Mohegan, paying lease payments for Suffolk Downs for its Revere land.

Despite all those changes, Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo insisted the reworked project does not require a re-vote. "Revere voters voted yes to a resort-style casino at Suffolk Downs," Rizzo said. Referring to the portion of the 160-acre site that lies in Revere and will now be used for the casino, Rizzo said, "Fifty-one acres is more than enough to create the type of facility that I know we had all anticipated."

Suffolk Downs chief operating officer Chip Tuttle and Suffolk chief owner Richard Fields both said the track's owners are committed to using revenue from the casino lease to bolster horse racing at the 78-year-old track.

And Tuttle all but said the track will close if Mohegan doesn't win the eastern Massachusetts casino license -- even more so if Steve Wynn's Everett casino plan does.

"The future of racing is very much in doubt without gaming revenue on the property," Tuttle said. "It's particularly in doubt if the license were to be awarded to another development in this region. It'd be very, very hard to foresee any way that racing would be able to continue" if Suffolk Downs had to compete for gamblers' dollars with a Wynn casino five miles away.

With videographer David Jacobs

Tags: massachusetts, connecticut, Peter Howe, Mohegan Sun, Revere, Suffolk Downs, Mitchell Etess, Suffolk Downs resort casino, Dan Rizzo
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