Walsh appears before state gaming commission, wants host community status

boston marty walsh mayor walsh city hall office
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh in his office at Boston City Hall.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki, Metro

Mayor Marty Walsh, saying that the people of Boston deserve the democratic process, asked the state’s gaming commission to declare the Hub a host community to the two proposed casinos in neighboring cities. 

Walsh made an appearance at the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s meeting on Thursday and asked commission members in person to declare Boston a host community.

“Do not cut the people of Boston out” of the process, Walsh said.

As a host community, city residents would be allowed to vote on the proposals and Boston officials could reap more finical benefits from the casino that’s awarded a license.

Attorney Thomas Frongillo, of the firm Fish & Richardson, is helping to represent the city in the process.

“The city’s position is that it is a host community,” he said, adding that the expanding gaming law doesn’t address the issue and that commissioners must decide it.

Walsh argued that each project cannot be “disentangled” from Boston and that both depend on the city’s harbor and roadways for access.

“The city of Boston is the crucial component to the key selling points of … the gaming establishments,” Walsh said.

Wynn Resorts is proposing a casino in Everett and Mohegan Sun has pitched a casino for Revere. The Mohegan Sun plan came after East Boston residents voted down a casino proposal for Suffolk Downs, which stretches across East Boston and Revere. After that vote, the project was moved entirely onto the Revere side of the track.

Gaming commissioners appeared concerned that the request could delay their timetable to award a license, and in turn delay the $85 million license fee revenue to the state. However, they decided to set a adjudicatory hearing within two weeks to decide the matter.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.


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