Suffolk County Residents Oppose Addition of Slots at Suffolk Downs

Opponents of the addition of a casino at the existing Suffolk Downs racetrack notified local media that they are planning to challenge in court a ballot question that may eventually result in the establishment of a slots parlor at the Boston-located track.

Earlier this week, Revere and East Boston residents filed a complaint to the Supreme Judicial Court, saying that the ballot measure should have not been certified by Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin and Attorney General Maura Healey. Local communities have previously prevented two plans for the addition of a casino at the track from being materialized.

If voters approve the ballot question, this would result in the current state gambling law being amended so that it allows the establishment of a second slots parlor within Massachusetts’ borders. Introduced in 2011, the state casino law allows for one slots parlor, the one in Plainville, and three fully-fledged casinos being established.

Opponents of the possible second slots parlor argued that the state Attorney General should have not given the green light to a ballot question for a local matter. According to them, the language of the question was tailored in a manner that applied specifically to the area around the existing horse track. If approved, it would allow for the addition of a 4-acre slots parlor within 1,500 feet of the existing Suffolk Downs venue.

Matt Cameron, the lawyer who represents the opposing group, told local media that a statewide vote is to be held on something that actually concerns a small area within the state. According to the attorney, the matter is too narrow to be voted on by means of a ballot question.

Opponents of the initiative also said that Massachusetts officials should not authorize a ballot question that if approved, would amend a regulation that was previously amended by another ballot question. A ballot question that aimed at repealing the current state casino act was defeated by Massachusetts residents back in 2014.

Reportedly, the latest ballot question initiative was launched by a developer who has been trying to acquire properties near Suffolk Downs for some time now. He told sellers that he intended to build a hotel and slots parlor there.

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