Gaming commission agrees to hear Boston casino appeal - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Gaming commission agrees to hear Boston casino appeal

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BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has agreed to schedule a hearing for the City of Boston to present its case that it should be granted host community status for not one, but two casino proposals.

"The city of Boston, in my opinion, is a host community to both proposals, Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told the panel Thursday.

Walsh said he was "relieved" when the commission decided to hear their case within the next two weeks. A date has not yet been set.

Even though East Boston voted down a casino, Walsh told FOX 25 that both East Boston and Charlestown deserve a say in this go around. Host community status would give Walsh ultimate negotiating power, leverage, to be used any way he'd see fit to hash out the deal he'd like best.

When FOX 25 Political Reporter Sharman Sacchetti asked Walsh what his end game was, he replied, "All I want is to make sure the people of both these communities have a chance to say, express, how they feel through the vote."

If Boston is granted host status, it does give the mayor control and if he wanted, he could even refuse to come to the table and potentially hold up the process altogether, all in the interest of negotiating.

When Sacchetti asked if he thought the city would receive host community status, Gaming Chairman Stephen Crosby said, "It hasn't been resolved yet."

He went on to say, "We're going to go look at it in good faith."

In more than one tense exchange, members of the commission complained this was a last-minute, secretive move by the city and that it would cause delays.

Crosby told both Mayor Walsh and the attorney, Thomas Frongillo, "Don't be disingenuous about this. The process has been going on for a long time. This specific issue has been addressed at least twice."

He went on to say, "Let's not quibble about that, you haven't had time to talk about this or that. This is the cart before the horse."

Still, after hearing the city's arguments, in the end the commission decided to at least schedule a hearing within the next two weeks. He told FOX 25 that they've "tried to cut organizations, bidders and communities reasonable slack, so that we make sure we get this right. If they're raising new issues that have some semblance of legitimacy, then we'll take the time to hear them out."

If the process is delayed, the state could potentially lose out on its $85 million licensing fee from the winning applicant this fiscal year.

It's possible this dispute could delay the gaming commission's schedule to award the license for a casino in eastern Mass. by June 30.

Walsh said he's not looking to delay the process, and that he's not looking to kill these two projects. He says he just wants Boston to have a say.

He also said he thinks the state will get its fee.

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