The state gambling commission this morning formally approved a waiver for Mohegan Sun and the city of Revere to permit another casino referendum in the city, probably in February.
The waiver lifts one element of a year-end deadline for final casino resort applications, and allows a Mohegan Sun casino plan at Suffolk Downs to move ahead in the contest for the Greater Boston resort casino license. The waiver applies only to the new referendum vote; the company must still submit all other documentations and drawings to support its bid by Dec. 31.
The waiver comes in response to a split vote for an earlier Suffolk Downs casino plan that would have located the casino in both Revere and adjacent East Boston. Revere voters supported the project, but East Boston voters said no. Hours after the vote, Suffolk Downs officials were already discussing ways to keep their casino plans alive by moving the project just over the city line into Revere.
The new vote addresses legal questions over whether the previous Revere referendum could be applied to a significantly different project.
Under the new casino proposal, Suffolk Downs would be a landlord, not the casino owner. Plans call for Mohegan Sun to build and own the casino on land leased from Suffolk Downs.
The commission’s willingness to allow a new vote has angered casino opponents, especially in East Boston.
“We’re sensitive to the fact that it’s an imperfect situation,” said commission chairman Stephen Crosby. “We’re sensitive to the fact that there are competing interests and competing passions on this.”
The other applicant for the Greater Boston license is Wynn Resorts, which has proposed a casino for Everett.