City Officials Oppose Slot Casino in Revere

Mayor Brian Arrigo has released a statement regarding a proposed slots casino parlor and hotel at the site of Lee’s Trailer Park on Revere Beach Parkway. There is a special election on the proposal on Oct. 18 and it will also appear as Question 1 on the statewide ballot on Nov. 8. Because of the statewide ballot question Gov. Charlie Baker has expressed his opposition stating it would not be good for the state.

The following is the content of Arigo’s press release regarding the situation:

“Revere is a community poised for a renaissance. The City is located along three MBTA stops just minutes from downtown Boston, and boasts the best beach in Greater Boston. Revere has a major opportunity to build a sustainable local economy; strengthen its tight-knit neighborhoods; and provide top-notch, efficient city services.

Under the leadership of Mayor Brian Arrigo, Revere has signaled to the Greater Boston area that it is ready to share in the economic growth of the region. Revere has also made progress toward making City Hall more efficient and effective, by using technology to bring local government in to the 21st century and delivering a FY2017 budget that slows spending growth while making key investments in city services.

The fly-by-night “proposal” to build a slot parlor on Revere Beach Parkway would not be beneficial to the city, and in fact could undermine the progress Revere has made toward reinventing its image.

As a result, leaders in Revere are standing in opposition to ballot Question 1 to add another slot license in Massachusetts. So far the following officials have joined against the slot casino:

-Mayor Brian Arrigo

-Representative RoseLee Vincent

-City Council President Jessica Giannino

-City Council Vice-Presdent Steve Morabito

-Ward 2 City Councilor Ira Novoselsky

-Ward 4 City Councilor Arthur Guinasso

-School Committee Vice-Chair Susan Gravellese

-School Committee Member Carol Tye

-School Committee Member Dan Maguire

-School Committee Member Stacey Rizzo

-School Committee Member Michael Ferrante

-School Committee Member Fred Sannella

-Superintendent of Schools Dianne Kelly

-Massachusetts General Hospital/Revere CARES Director Sylvia Chiang

Not a suitable proposal

The shoddy, previously unheard-of enterprise proposing to open and operate the slot parlor has no experience owning or operating gambling facilities anywhere in the world. There is no transparency around who they are or how they can prove to be financially suitable. The information they have offered the City to this point is woefully bereft of any details on mitigation, infrastructure improvements, or any other benefit to the City.

It was recently revealed that those behind the proposal never communicated or discussed their plans with the Mayor of Boston, or the operators of Suffolk Downs. In spite of this, they have claimed that their proposal is part of “saving Suffolk Downs.” In reality, the operators of Suffolk Downs don’t even know the details of this plan, let alone support it.

They also moved forward in attempting to go to the ballot without gaining the support of city leaders in Revere, despite claiming to be acting in Revere’s interest. This only diminishes our confidence in their ability to properly operate a gaming facility.

Revere should hold potential developers to high standards. Revere residents deserve better than what they’ve historically gotten. A first-class proposal is something the City would be able to consider; this concept is poorly thought out and not likely to be to the kind of standard Revere demands.

Will not deliver on promises

The Plainridge slot parlor in Plainville is an example of the struggle a slots facility will have competing within hours of full-fledged casinos..

Initial estimates suggested Plainridge could make $300 million in its first year of operation; as of April, it was on pace to make just over half of that estimate ($160 million). This is after going to great lengths to make up for a disappointing opening, including offering players up to $1,000 in free slot play.

With the Wynn Boston Harbor casino project in Everett moving forward, a potential slot parlor in Revere would have to compete with a major facility just miles down the road. There is simply no way a slot parlor located a few miles from a full-fledged resort casino will be able to deliver on its revenue promises.

Not the right fit for our community

Mayor Arrigo, Rep. Vincent, and other City leaders were supportive of the previous bid to build a destination casino at Suffolk Downs. However, unlike a resort casino, which offers entertainment venues, fine dining, and other amenities, a slot parlor does not offer the kind of value to the community Revere is looking for to help bring our city in to the 21st century.

For comparison’s sake, the Wynn Everett agreement calls for an up-front payment to Everett of $30 million, and payments of $25.2 million annually in tax revenue and mitigation. By contrast, the outline sent to City officials calls for $1.5 million in projected revenue for Revere annually from a slot parlor – and this is assuming the slot parlor can live up to its promises, which is doubtful.

Research has indicated that slot parlors are more likely to be designed to entice lower-income residents, elderly people, and people with gambling addictions to gamble more than they can afford and continue coming back to feed their addiction. As a result, slot parlors are likely to cause more problems in their host communities than can be mitigated by any tax revenue generated – without the benefit of the amenities offered by a first-class gaming facility.

Revere’s economy has struggled for the last 30 years due in no small part to relying too heavily on gambling as a source for jobs and revenue. The time is now for Revere to build a new, sustainable economy by tapping in to economic growth in the region. Revere has the potential to host corporate anchors; small businesses offering amenities like shops, restaurants and cafes; and participants in the innovation economy.

Settling for a slot parlor proposal that is not likely to deliver on its promises would be selling the city of Revere short, and would hurt the city’s attempts to build a more positive image that can attract jobs, economic opportunity, and services for our residents.

Revere’s residents are tired of being sold short, and should demand the best. Revere is now demanding accountability and professionalism at all levels in development deals.  As community leaders, we know Revere deserves better than this proposal, and encourage a No vote on an additional slot parlor in the community.”

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