The announcement Friday night that Caesars Entertainment is withdrawing its stake in the Suffolk Downs effort to secure a casino license has been met with shock and wonder.
The shock is simple - how could a giant, worldwide company like Caesars fail to meet or even to exceed the application standards set by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission when it operates under the stringent laws of at least 53 jurisdictions around the United States and all over the world?
Caesars withdrawing from Suffolk Downs does not end Suffolk Downs' application effort - it forces the track to name another casino investor to partner with.
Steve Wynn is the most often named possibility to be that new partner now that Caesars and the non-compete contracts it held with Suffolk Downs have evaporated into a series of breaking news stories about Caesars demise.
But can Wynn expect to sidestep the Gaming Commission's iron fist?
That remains to be seen.
Wynn's lack of comments Friday night indicate that he either believes his casino group will be subject to the same stringent scrutiny that Caesar's has just been made to endure so he better keep his mouth shut for now.
"Steve Wynn would rather quit Everett than be told by the Gaming Commission he cannot go forward because of his dealings elsewhere in the world," said a casino gaming expert who wished to remain unnamed.
"If Gary Loveman - the head of Caesars can't be considered suitable for a license here then how is Wynn going to pass the same test?" the expert wondered.
Suffolk Downs officials huddled at the track in meetings late into the evening on Friday discussing their options.
According to a Suffolk Downs official, the discussions centered around finding another casino suitor for the venerable track.
"We need to find an investor with money and suitability. It could be an individual investor with casino interests or another casino company with good credentials and a positive cash position," he added.
The official said those efforts were already underway.
Suffolk officials said Caesar's leaving the fold will not effect the dual referendums taking place in Revere and in East Boston on Election Day during the first week of November.
Recent polling reveals that the referendums will pass in both communities by wide margins.
Still, the entire casino scenario in Massachusetts has been thrown into disarray by the Gaming Commission's assertion that Caesars is not suitable to operate in the Bay State.