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Revere mayor opposes special election for slot parlor

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Revere Ma yor Brian M. Arrigo at the Revere High School.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Revere Mayor Brian M. Arrigo said Wednesday that he opposes a local ballot measure to bring a slots parlor to his city because the statewide election in November could make the issue moot.

"The current effort regarding a local ballot initiative amounts to putting the cart before the horse and could be a huge waste of taxpayer money," Arrigo said in statement.

Supporters of bringing a second slots parlor to Massachusetts collected enough voter signatures to bring the question before voters statewide Nov. 8. If approved, Question 1 would allow a slots parlor at a unspecified location that is at least four acres in size and within 1,500 feet of a racetrack.


But if it is defeated on the statewide ballot, there would be no need to hold a referendum in Revere, saving the city tens of thousands of dollars, Arrigo said. Under the state's 2011 casino law, towns and cities must vote on whether to accept a casino in their community.

Even if the plan is approved at both the local and state level, it would need the backing of Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which is authorized to license only three full-scale casinos and the slot parlor now operating in Plainville.

Eugene McCain, a businessman and developer, has reached agreements to buy properties in Revere near the Suffolk Downs racetrack, including a trailer park where he wants to build the slots parlor.

Arrigo has derided McCain's plan as a "fly-by-night proposal" that includes few details.

"The current proposal is asking Revere residents to make a vote based on no information," he said.

More than 4,000 voters in Revere have signed a petition in support of the local ballot question. Supporters are seeking a special election before Nov. 8.

Earlier this month, Arrigo was turned down when he asked a judge to let the city delay a local election until after the statewide election.


Superior Court Judge Peter Lauriat noted that the minimum number of signatures required under the law for a special election had been certified by the city's election commission and ordered the Revere City Council to take up the matter.

A group backing McCain released a statement last week saying that a poll conducted on its behalf showed 66 percent of voters voiced strong approval for the slots parlor.

That group, the Revere Jobs & Education Committee, also said the slots parlor "could provide good paying jobs with benefits and created much needed tax revenue."

Sean P. Murphy can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @spmurphyboston.