The head of the citizen-led movement to repeal the state casino law today blasted Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh for deciding to take a compensation deal from casino developer Mohegan Sun, rather than continue fighting for the rights of Boston residents to vote on the project.
“It should come as little surprise that the City of Boston is cutting another deal with the casino industry that is based on dollars and cents, not what is in the clear interests of our capital city, its people and its long-term economic future,” said John Ribeiro, chair of the Repeal the Casino Deal campaign, in a statement.
“We hoped for more from Mayor Walsh, who knows well the damage addiction has on people, families and communities. The city’s zest for phantom revenue wrapped in cronyism, conflict and corruption in both Revere and Everett, offers daily evidence for why we need to vote yes in November to stop this casino mess.”
The Globe reported today that Walsh was nearing a deal with the casino developer that would pay the city to offset the effects of a casino at Suffolk Downs in Revere, but would not give East Boston residents the right to vote on the proposal. Walsh probably will go to arbitration to finalize a compensation agreement with the other applicant for the Boston-area casino license, Wynn Resorts, which plans to build in Everett, near Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood.
Details of the city’s emerging agreement with Mohegan Sun have not been released.
Walsh had considered suing the state gambling commission to win more power over the casino projects, including the right to hold binding local votes in East Boston and in Charlestown. But in the end the mayor decided a court challenge would be too risky, and could leave the city without compensation for a casino development on its border.
Casino opponents gathered thousands of signatures and won a ruling from the state’s highest court to put the casino repeal measure on the November ballot.
The state gambling commission intends to push ahead this summer with its review of the two Boston-area casino proposals, despite the possibility that the 2011 casino law could be repealed.