- May 25, 2006
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As you know, casinos provides money and attract tourists. However they also attract crimes, traffics, and etc.. Do you think they should build one at Suffolk Downs?
Boston Herald said:Casino Menino: Mayor sees Suffolk as destination resort
By Scott Van Voorhis
Boston Herald Business Reporter
Friday, July 13, 2007 - Updated: 05:50 AM EST
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino yesterday raised the stakes in the race to bring casino gambling to the Bay State, throwing his support behind the idea of building a Foxwoods-style gaming palace at East Boston?s Suffolk Downs racetrack.
Menino, who has backed putting slot machines at Suffolk Downs and other racetracks in the past, said he now believes a destination casino with restaurants, hotels and shops is a better option.
?It can be a tourist location where people can come to go to a show and a dinner,? Menino said. ?I am looking out for the best interests of the taxpayers.?
Such a massive development would also provide a new stream of tax revenue at a time when cities and towns are scrambling to find ways of raising extra cash, he said.
Menino said he recently met the new lead owner of Suffolk Downs, Richard Fields, at a charity function at the track, but had not yet seen formal plans that the Big Apple developer is drawing up for the struggling racetrack.
Menino said he would be open to meeting with the Mashpee Wampanoags, who are running into some opposition in Middleboro to their plans to build a resort casino there.
While a Suffolk Downs casino would compete with the Wampanoags? current plans, a spokesman for the tribe said they?d be happy to talk with Menino and Fields.
In fact, Fields, Suffolk Downs? new lead owner, has already developed a major casino resort in Florida for the Seminole Tribe.
The mayor is the latest - and one of the most influential - in a growing chorus of political power players to come out in support of large-scale casino development.
?That is big,? said Clyde Barrow, a University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth professor and gaming industry expert. ?We have never seen this many important political figures line up in favor of casino gambling.?
Ideas being discussed for Suffolk Downs include a $1 billion destination casino resort that would have hundreds of shops, dozens of restaurants, an arena for shows and other entertainment venues, according to one executive familiar with the plans.
In a statement, Chip Tuttle, a spokesman for Suffolk Downs, said the racetrack appreciated Menino?s support. ?Should the state move to expand gaming, we?d be open to discussing the benefits Suffolk Downs brings,? he said.
Menino?s comments come as a panel appointed by Gov. Deval Patrick to study the costs and benefits of opening the Bay State to expanded gambling wraps up its research.
The panel will make a presentation to the governor in a few weeks, said Kofi Jones, a spokeswoman for Dan O?Connell, the state?s secretary of housing and economic development.
Menino?s endorsement of an East Boston casino adds crucial momentum to the drive to bring casino gambling to Massachusetts.
State Treasurer Tim Cahill recently came out in support of a casino to compete with a $1 billion destination resort proposed by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. State Sen. President Therese Murray has also voiced support for expanded gambling.
Not everyone is enamored with the idea of a casino in East Boston, including state Sen. Anthony Petrucelli, who represents the area.
?These neighborhoods are impacted by the international airport, three tunnels and a major highway. How much more can we take?? Petrucelli said.