Though no one in Chelsea had a say in the matter on Tuesday, a good many residents and municipal officials in Chelsea breathed a sigh of relief at the overwhelming ‘yes’ vote by Revere residents pertaining to the casino at Suffolk Downs.
While Chelsea has been talking with both potential casino operators – Mohegan Sun in Revere and Wynn in Everett – the City has already inked one of the most lucrative Surrounding Community Agreements in the state with Mohegan Sun. To date, the City is still in negotiations with Wynn and there is some indication that there isn’t an appetite to match Mohegan’s offer.
A ‘no’ vote in Revere on Tuesday would have automatically killed the Mohegan agreement with Chelsea – a potential loss of $2.5 million per year, among other perks.
“I’m thrilled with the significant vote out of Revere and excited about he tremendous potential a resort casino can have for our entire region,” said City Manager Jay Ash. “I believe the Mohegan application to be a superior one, and I continue to be encourage by them in my conversations about the possibilities. There is a strong bond between Mohegan and its host and surrounding communities, and that should mean that their regional approach to their $1.3 billion dollar investment will drive many positive outcomes for places like Chelsea.
“I am also very happy for Mayor Dan Rizzo, who showed tremendous leadership in fighting for the very best for his community,” continued Ash. “He has also been a champion of surrounding communities, so we owe him so much for having the conviction to stand up to so many outside pressures and deliver a huge vote, one both greater in terms of percentage than the last Revere vote and with more ‘yes’ votes than Wynn received in Everett.”
The results showed a huge turnout in Revere for a cold February day where there was only one issue at stake. However, the vote was pretty much exactly the same as the affirmative vote in Revere last November.
For example, there was a 44 percent turnout in both elections, with only a slight variation in the total ballots cast – 11,379 this time and 11,080 last time.
On Tuesday, 63.2 percent (7,195) of Revere voters gave the ok to a casino while 36.7 percent (4,177) disapproved of it.
Chelsea Council President Matt Frank said he was happy to see the vote, but is mixed on his overall support of casinos in the state.
“I’m mixed on whether we should have a casino at all in the region, but if we’re going to have a casino in Greater Boston, I prefer the Mohegan Sun/Suffolk Downs project because I think they have worked well with their surrounding communities and host communities,” he said. “In that scope, I’m happy with Tuesday’s vote.”
State Rep candidate Roy Avellaneda said he also congratulated Revere for its vote.
“I congratulate the city of Revere for approving its casino referendum on Tuesday,” said Avallaneda. “I will support Revere’s efforts to gain a gaming license from the state, and for the Charlestown residents to have the opportunity to redesign Sullivan Square into a gateway to Boston instead of an off-ramp for the Wynn casino in Everett.”