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Mohegan Sun, Boston mayor still differ on city's status

By Brian Hallenbeck

Publication: theday.com

Published May 07. 2014 8:02PM   Updated May 07. 2014 11:29PM

Mohegan Sun officials and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh failed to reach an agreement Wednesday regarding Mohegan Sun’s plan to develop a $1.3 billion resort casino in Revere, a city abutting the Boston neighborhood of East Boston.

“We had a good meeting with the mayor of the City of Boston, but at the end of the day we were unable to come to an agreement on whether the city is to be regarded as a surrounding community or a host community,” Mitchell Etess, the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority’s chief executive officer, said.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is scheduled to consider the matter when it meets at 1 p.m. Thursday in Boston.

A ruling on Boston’s status is considered crucial to the fate of casino projects proposed by Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts, which has proposed a $1.6 billion project in Everett, a city that borders the Boston neighborhood of Charlestown.

Mohegan Sun and Wynn are competing for the sole Greater Boston license the commission is expected to award.

If Boston is designated a host community, as Walsh contends it should be, the projects would be subject to voter approval in referendums in the Boston neighborhoods. Those voters would be likely to reject the projects, as East Boston voters did last November in the case of an earlier project that straddled the Revere-East Boston line.

Mohegan Sun believes the city should be regarded as a surrounding community. As such, Boston would be entitled to so-called mitigation payments from casino operators though not in the amounts a host community could expect to receive.

Etess said Wednesday’s meeting with Walsh was “not so much a financial discussion as a philosophical discussion.”

“We’re eager to continue the conversation and hope to reach a mutually beneficial agreement,” he said.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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