Mohegan Sun in the running at Suffolk Downs

Mohegan Sun, the Connecticut gambling giant that lost a casino referendum in Palmer earlier this month, has emerged as a contender to join a Suffolk Downs casino bid in Revere, according to Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo.

“I know they are having conversations with Mohegan Sun,” Rizzo said this morning. “I certainly think Mohegan is in the hunt.”

In addition to having a well-known name in the New England gambling market, Mohegan Sun may make a desirable partner because the company has already passed its intensive state background check. Suffolk Downs needs to find a new casino partner to replace Caesars Entertainment, which the track dropped from its venture in October over concerns Caesars would fail its background check.

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Suffolk Downs officials have also spoken with Rush Street Gaming, which has also passed the state background check. Those talks have appeared to cool recently. Rush Street had proposed a slot parlor in Millbury, but withdrew before a local referendum due to a lack of public support. Suffolk Downs officials have also spoken to Hard Rock International, which in September lost a referendum in West Springfield. The state background investigation into Hard Rock was nearly done when the company lost its vote.

Finding a suitable new partner before a year-end deadline is not the only hurdle Suffolk Downs must clear in order to remain in the hunt for the sole Greater Boston resort casino license. East Boston voters on Nov. 5 rejected the track’s casino plan, the same day Revere voters approved it. Suffolk Downs officials are trying to get around the defeat by shifting the entire project over the city line into Revere. The state gambling commission has not yet decided if the Revere vote constitutes a viable endorsement of Suffolk Downs’ new, Revere-only proposal.