Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Wednesday that Boston would continue to explore its options after voters in Revere endorsed a proposal to build a $1.3 billion gambling resort at Suffolk Downs.
Walsh said he still believed that Boston has a “good argument” to be recognized as a “host community,” even though the casino project would be located entirely within Revere. Under state gambling law, host communities have significant input on casino projects and can kill a development.
“I’m happy for Revere, I’m happy for the mayor, who worked hard on it,” Walsh said Wednesday. “The people of Boston—the residents of East Boston . . . would like another shot to look at this.”
Boston could be subject to the lesser designation of “surrounding community.” The city has not begun seriously negotiating as a surrounding community in relation to the proposed Revere casino or a competing project in Everett near the city line in Charlestown.
Surrounding communities can negotiate for compensation to offset the effects of a casino, such as increased traffic, but have fewer rights than host communities and cannot kill projects by voting them down or by stonewalling negotiations.
Walsh said he does not want to relinquish the city’s claim as a host community even though neither project falls within Boston city limits. “I’m not going to start negotiating a surrounding community agreement when I feel we could potentially be a host community,” Walsh said.
The Mohegan Sun proposal to build a casino at Suffolk Downs won the backing Tuesday of nearly two-thirds of Revere voters. Voters in East Boston in November rejected an earlier proposal to build a casino on part of Suffolk Downs that lies in the city. The state gambling commission is expected to decide in a few months whether Mohegan Sun or its rival, a Wynn Resorts proposal for Everett, will receive a license to open a resort casino in Eastern Massachusetts.
Walsh has not said explicitly whether he supports the casino proposal on the Revere side of Suffolk Downs. On Wednesday, he was asked whether he opposed the project because East Boston voters rejected a casino.
“I wouldn’t say I’m against it,” Walsh said. “My job is to look out for the interests of the people of East Boston and look out for the people of Boston. That’s my concern.”