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Old 05-23-2007, 09:22 PM   #1
lexicon506
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Suffolk Downs Casino?

There's been a lot of talk of casinos in Mass lately. Of course I'm for a revival of the racetrack...the more world-class events Boston attracts, the better the city becomes. Hopefully this will pump some life into that area, although I'm not sure I would welcome a Mohegan Sun-esque casino within the city limits.

MassCap?s back to put track in casino race
By Scott Van Voorhis/ Exclusive
Boston Herald Business Reporter
Wednesday, May 23, 2007 - Updated: 10:55 AM EST

Suffolk Downs new lead owner, Richard Fields, pledged to spend big to revive the battered Eastie track when he bought a controlling stake earlier this year.
Now the New York-based casino developer and horse racing enthusiast is making good with plans to bring back Suffolk?s showcase event, the historic MassCap.
In a move that is already generating buzz in racing circles, Fields and his fellow track owners are weighing plans to spend well over $1 million on the event - an unprecedented number for a struggling racetrack, executives familar with the plans said.
But there is more at work here than an attempt to save an old racetrack.
Fields decision to revive the MassCap is a downpayment on a much larger gamble.
The decision to bring back the MassCap is the first major public relations salvo in what is likely to be a long campaign to win state permission to turn Suffolk into Boston?s answer to Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, insiders say. They call it part of a shrewd strategy to curry favor on Beacon Hill, where Fields hopes to win support to build a casino alongside the track.
Investing in the track will send the message to lawmakers that ?we will be an industry worth saving,? said Louis Ciarlone, the track?s union chief. ?We have gone from cautiously optimistic to very excited about the future.?
Under the previous regime, Suffolk tried to bludgeon state lawmakers into legalizing slot machines, with veiled threats to close and throw thousands of employees out of work.
Let just say it wasn?t a winning ticket.
The new approach, insiders say, is more soft sell, with the case being made that Suffolk, the state?s flagship racetrack, is worth saving.
The MassCap was Suffolk?s signature race, dating to when the track opened in 1935. The event long attracted some of the best horses in the country, from the legendary Seabiscuit, who raced before 40,000 in 1937, to Cigar, another champion, in the mid-1990s.The track, struggling to stay open, canceled the MassCap during the last two seasons.
Fields confirmed his decision to revive the MassCap - even as he sidestepped the more controversial casino question.
?Bringing back the historic MassCap is just one component of our extensive plan to return racing to greatness at Suffolk Downs,? Fields said in a statement.
He and fellow owners, who include Hub concessionnaire Joseph O?Donnell, are now busy hammering out the details of their plan to bring back the MassCap, most likely in September.
While a final number is still being hammered out, the owners are looking at spending hundreds of thousands on prize money, and hundreds of thousands more on bonuses to attract top horses.
There are also plans for concerts and other attractions around the time of the race to drive interest.
Fields made a fortune developing a casino for the Seminole Tribe in Florida. Now he?s prepared to spend another in hopes of making an even larger one in the Bay State.
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Old 05-23-2007, 09:50 PM   #2
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I like going to the track, but to echo what you said, I don't think I would like a huge casino within city limits.

I was there on opening day, for the Kentucky derby, and it was pretty packed. It is pretty dumpy though.
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Old 05-23-2007, 09:56 PM   #3
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I don't think I would like a huge casino within city limits

Why not?
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Old 05-23-2007, 10:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlantaden
I don't think I would like a huge casino within city limits

Why not?
why tax the working class?
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Old 05-24-2007, 12:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlantaden
I don't think I would like a huge casino within city limits

Why not?

I should have clarified. I would not be as opposed to a strict number of slots, as much as a fully fledged foxwoods-esque casino.

The can of worms a it could potentially open is dangerous. First Suffolk downs, next thing you know, gambling is fully legal everywhere in Boston. Of course this is an extremely far fetched scenario, but i think the possibility still exists, and with the large number of college students based directly in Boston, gambling could be a serious problem.

Don't get me wrong though, I would love to see the wampanogs get a casino though.

Ehh it's 1:30 right now and i am a little drunk so i will post a better response tomorrow or something.
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Old 05-24-2007, 11:27 AM   #6
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Racing ...

We have already bailed-out racing at least once in Massachusetts .... how many more times are they going to ask for a hand-out?

It's not my problem that they aren't making enough money.

Close down.

No to casinos, while we're at it.

Casinos make a city "world-class"?
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Old 05-24-2007, 01:14 PM   #7
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Re: Racing ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimboJones
Casinos make a city "world-class"?
No, but it is a fact that hundreds of thousands of Boston and Massachusetts residents like to gamble and spend money doing so right across the border in CT. So why should we just sit back and let the richest state in the country get richer? People who gamble are going to gamble no matter what whether it is lottery, on line, at Foxwoods/Mohegan or otherwise so why shouldn't we do everything we can to keep these dollars in our state instead of continuing to fill the pockets of the richest state in this country.
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Old 05-24-2007, 03:22 PM   #8
lexicon506
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Casinos make a city "world-class"?
What I meant by "world-class" was the race, not a casino. You can't deny the prestige of events like the Kentucky Derby or Preakness, so why not try to bring back Boston's own race? Casinos are a different story, I think we can all agree that Las Vegas is not a world class city.
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Old 05-24-2007, 04:26 PM   #9
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Casinos are a different story, I think we can all agree that Las Vegas is not a world class city.

Las Vegas might not be a world class city but it sure as hell is a world class destination! Boston is definitely a world class city but not really a world class destination. A couple of high-end casino's just might make it both!
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Old 05-24-2007, 04:26 PM   #10
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Re: Racing ...

Combining both of your arguments, just give the wampanoagas their casino in New Bedford or Middleboro.
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Old 05-24-2007, 04:35 PM   #11
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I like that the Casinos are in CT b/c it gives you a good excuse to have to go away for the weekend.
Suffolk Downs will have some difficult obstacles to get around. The people living in Revere and East Boston have been against it in the past, and the parking lot is adjacent to a field of Gas Tanks.
If it did go through, would there have to be Native American involvement? And in the case of CT, where they are owned by Native Americans, does the State really benefit? I was under the impression that they operated tax free?
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Old 05-24-2007, 07:21 PM   #12
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The key difference is whether or not they are on Indian land or not. If they are, the state gets no benefits whatsoever. If it isn't, then the state can still tax. I am not sure if Mohegan Sun and/or Foxwoods is on Indian land, but I know that Suffolk Downs isn't, so MA would get some benefit.
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Old 05-24-2007, 08:27 PM   #13
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I believe both Foxwoods and Mohegan sun pay 25% of their slot revenue to the state, but they are not taxed on table games etc...

Ct recieves about $400 million a year from the 2 casinos.
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Old 05-24-2007, 08:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Boston is definitely a world class city
i LOVE Boston don't get me wrong, but calling it a world class city is a stretch. bigtime. only Bostonians think Boston is a world class city.
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Old 05-24-2007, 10:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby Digital
Quote:
Boston is definitely a world class city
i LOVE Boston don't get me wrong, but calling it a world class city is a stretch. bigtime. only Bostonians think Boston is a world class city.
don't get me started....
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Old 05-24-2007, 10:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nico
Suffolk Downs will have some difficult obstacles to get around. The people living in Revere and East Boston have been against it in the past, and the parking lot is adjacent to a field of Gas Tanks.
The issue that no one has addressed is a simple fact of infrastructure. As it stands today, the existing roads, mainly the McClellan Highway (Rt. 1A) are wholly inadequate for their current traffic volume, with numerous stoplights and ill-conceived traffic circles. The road is a bottleneck until it joins Rt 1 in northern Revere. This would have been less of an issue had I-95 been pushed north to Danvers in the 70's, but Governor Sargent put a moratorium on construction, and the land was sold to developers during the first Dukakis administration (yet another case of the 'burbs sticking it to the urbs).

Though I can't speak for my neighbors, I think trading the tank-farm for a "destination" like a casino would be acceptable, though my preference would be for a grid of streets and two dozen McAllen buildings, centered around transit nodes at Beachmont and Suffolk Downs stations.

Past proposals for the site (that were eliminated for the same traffic issues I've mentioned) included a replacement for the Boston Garden, a Tweeter Center style venue, and a new home for the Pats. I saw Radiohead there a few years back (walked to and from the gig) and though the concert was great, the traffic was an ill managed nightmare that lasted until 2AM.

As a side-note, my dad was the lieutenant of the uniformed security detail at Suffolk Downs in the mid-70's, after he retired from the State Police. His favorite aphorism about the track: "Even the fuckin' flag-pole is crooked."
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Old 05-25-2007, 08:59 AM   #17
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I'm sure you'd trade the tank-farm for the casino...I live in Chelsea and I'd love to have a casino replace our tanks, but I'm pretty sure those tanks have a no-trade clause.
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Old 05-25-2007, 12:21 PM   #18
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Casinos

While I hate hate hate the idea of casinos in MA, I do think Suffolk Downs would work. I agree, maybe it's too congested, and/or the roads need to be improved, but isn't it close enough to most major highways to make it a good fit? Also, isn't gambling all that people do in those neighborhoods?

I love gambling, just not in our state. I just think there are other revenue-making schemes more appealing.
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Old 05-25-2007, 12:47 PM   #19
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Re: Casinos

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimboJones
I agree, maybe it's too congested, and/or the roads need to be improved, but isn't it close enough to most major highways to make it a good fit?
Not really...Read my post above, or perhaps look at a map.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimboJones
Also, isn't gambling all that people do in those neighborhoods?
I dunno -- I've lived in East Boston my entire live...I find myself reading a fair amount of books, attending cultural events, and working about 55 hours every week...Would you prefer that I refer to you as an ignoramus, a bigot, or a jackass?
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Old 05-25-2007, 01:10 PM   #20
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Beton,
Maybe you should start a thread about the changes/development in East Boston. If I knew how, I would. East Boston's got a lot going on now...Dumbo Jones might even be interested.
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