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Eastie casino critics want Boston named a host community

Casino opponents in East Boston are backing Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s contention that Boston deserves a greater say over two casino proposals on its border, arguing that the proposed projects would heavily depend on “the city’s brand” as an international destination.

In a document released Friday by the state gambling commission, the citizens group No Eastie Casino supported Walsh’s stance that, under the 2011 casino law, Boston qualifies as a host community to a Wynn Resorts proposal in Everett and a Mohegan Sun plan at Suffolk Downs in Revere.

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Under the state casino law, host communities have the power to block gambling projects at the ballot box. Walsh has insisted that the Charlestown neighborhood should be permitted to vote on the Wynn project and that East Boston residents should decide the fate of the Mohegan Sun proposal.

The casino developers disagree; both say their projects, while very close to the city line, are not in Boston, so the city is not a host community.

In its latest brief, No Eastie Casino disputed the developers’ arguments.

“If the applicants are to be believed, the Legislature has sanctioned something resembling a medieval feudal system in which surrounding communities, even those within actual inches of massive destination resort casinos, are little more than helpless vassals which are entirely subject to the whims of neighboring casino host communities,” the group wrote.

The group also said that either casino project would depend on Boston’s reputation as “a world-class city of international renown.”

Several weeks ago, the state gambling commission outlined a process to sort out Walsh’s arguments that Boston is a host community. The process included two rounds of written briefs leading up to a critical public hearing set for May 1.

In that first round of briefs, filed a week ago, Wynn, Mohegan Sun, the City of Revere and No Eastie Casino submitted written arguments. The Walsh administration declined to participate, saying the commission’s process is unfair.

The No Eastie Casino brief released Friday was the only document submitted by Thursday’s deadline for replies to the first round of briefs, according to the gambling commission.

No Eastie Casino also supported Walsh’s contention that the public process the commission established to determine Boston’s status is biased against the city and “designed to favor the applicants.”

Wynn Resorts has argued that the company in 2013 agreed with former mayor Thomas M. Menino’s administration that Boston was not a host community.

Mohegan Sun, which intends to lease about 40 acres in Revere from Suffolk Downs for a casino, was emphatic in its filing to the commission that “no element of the gaming establishment will be located in the city of Boston.”

The gambling commission hopes to choose a winner between the rival casino proposals later this year.

Mark Arsenault can be reached at Mark.Arsenault@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bostonglobemark.
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