Nothing like a little Friday-evening bombshell: Suffolk Downs is giving casino giant Caesars the boot, just weeks before East Boston voters are supposed to decide whether to approve the idea of a $1-billion resort casino next to the racetrack.
In a letter to the casino operator (attached below), Suffolk Downs COO Chip Tuttle said an investigation by the state Gaming Commission's Investigations and Enforcement Bureau raised serious questions about Caesar's suitability to manage the casino and two hotels that Suffolk Downs wants to build.
At a community forum just three days ago, Tuttle had said his company had picked Caesars as its partner because the casino operator had developed industry "best practices," in particular for running casinos in urban areas. Opponents were urging voters to reject the proposed host agreement in part because of questions about Caesar's large amount of debt.
Even if it wins the Nov. 5 referendum, Suffolk Downs could still lose out on the casino; eastern Massachusetts will get only one casino and the state will consider competing proposals from operators in Everett and Milford.
East Boston voters decide Nov. 5 whether to approve an agreement between Suffolk Downs and the city that would let Suffolk Downs continue its application to the state for eastern Massachusetts's one casino license. A competing casino operator recently won Everett approval for a casino there