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Slots parlor group hires casino developer

The group that wants to open a slots parlor in Revere has hired a Las Vegas-based casino developer and manager to help shepherd a proposal that faces a statewide vote in the November election.

Real estate developer Eugene McCain has rung up several victories already, including collecting almost 100,000 signatures to get the slots parlor question on the state ballot. His group also collected the signatures of almost 5,000 Revere voters to bring the measure before them at a special election Oct. 18.

On Monday, the McCain group announced it has hired Navegante, a small consulting firm headed by Larry J. Woolf, former president and CEO of MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The firm has helped develop and manage casinos throughout the United States and Canada.


“We’re working to craft the message to get out there on the slots parlor question,” said Gary Armentrout a Navegante senior vice president. “I think that by becoming partners we lend credibility to the proposal.”

If voters approve the slot parlor measure, known as Question 1, Navegante will oversee the design of the facility, which could include a 500-room hotel, Armentrout said. The plan would still need the state Gaming Commission’s approval.

Armentrout said studies show a strong market for a slots parlor with 1,250 machines, as the McCain group proposes. It would draw gamblers from the surrounding area and would benefit from its proximity to Logan International Airport.

Jason Osborne, another consultant helping to lead the slots campaign, said the group is planning to spend millions of dollars in TV and radio advertising in the coming weeks.

He said the ad campaign will focus on the performance of Plainridge Park Casino, the slots parlor in Plainville that has paid $88 million in taxes since opening in June 2015. A parlor in Revere would probably do at least as well, he said.


The slots plan is staunchly opposed by Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo, who says the city should wait for a better proposal, such as a corporate office park. Arrigo tried to block the local election, citing its cost, but a judge ordered it to go forward.

Sean P. Murphy can be reached at smurphy@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @spmurphy-boston.