Citing millions of dollars in gambling revenues, new job opportunities and long-needed traffic improvements, the Revere City Council on Tuesday voted 11-0 to support an agreement to allow a $1 billion resort casino to operate at the Suffolk Downs horse race track.
“The bottom line is dollars,” said Ward One Councilor Richard A. Penta. “I’m all in.”
“It’s a solid agreement,” said Councilor-at-Large Jessica Ann Giannino, the council’s vice president. “It’s written very well. It’s up to all of us to figure out the pros and cons.”
Along with annual financial payments, based on a complicated revenue sharing formula, the agreement spells out more than $30 million in traffic improvements to state and local roads, a requirement to purchase 7.5 million annually on goods and services from Revere businesses, and reserve 10 percent of the resort’s estimated 4,000 full time jobs for Revere residents.
“It will give our residents unprecedented opportunity for employment,” said Mayor Dan Rizzo, who negotiated the deal over the last several months.
Chip Tuttle, the chief operating officer at Suffolk Downs, said the council’s unanimous support is “a vote of confidence in the host community agreement.”
He added, “ That’s very gratifying for us, because we’ve worked hard with the city for a long time to ensure that the benefits of our development are shared with the city and its residents.”
The host community agreement is required by the state’s gambling law to outline the financial benefits, and mitigate the potential negative impacts, a casino may have on a community. The law also requires that a special election be held, to allow local residents to decide if they want a casino located in their community.
Suffolk Downs – which also signed an agreement with the City of Boston last week – is facing critical referendums in both Revere and East Boston. The two cities are working together to schedule the date for the special election, which could be either Oct. 29 or Nov. 5, Rizzo said.
“People in our community will actually have the final say, as to whether a casino should come to Suffolk Downs or not,” Rizzo said.
Suffolk Downs and Caesars are vying for the eastern Massachusetts casino license. The city announced the host agreement last week.
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