Saritin Rizzuto, chairwoman of the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce Latino Business Division, said the group was pleased with the presentation delivered by Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner Enrique Zuniga at a meeting Monday at the Wyndham Chelsea Hotel.
Close to 70 people attended the forum that was organized by the planning committee of the Latino Business Division and sponsored by Metro Credit Union, Dunkin’ Donuts, and the Wyndham Hotel.
Zuniga is one of five members of the state Gaming Commission that will decide which companies receive the [up to] three casino licenses and one slots establishment license in the state. Two of the entities seeking an expanded gaming license in this area are Sterling Suffolk Racecourse who has proposed a casino/resort complex on the site of Suffolk Downs in East Boston, and Wynn LLC, whose officials have visited a site in Everett where a casino/hotel complex would be built.
Zuniga gave an informative talk about all aspects of the casino application and license granting process. He delivered his remarks in English and Spanish and answered questions from the audience.
“I was very happy with both the turnout and the valuable information that Commissioner Zuniga provided for people to understand how the casino process works,” said Rizzuto. “His information was key to helping people understand the step-by-step process and how it will affect our business community.”
Chip Tuttle, chief operating officer at Suffolk Downs, also addressed the gathering about its proposal to build a $1 billion casino/resort on the site of the East Boston racetrack.
“We were very impressed by Mr. Tuttle’s presentation about Suffolk’s plans and we’re excited that he took the time to come to our meeting and hear the feedback from the local business community,” said Rizzuto. “Mr. Tuttle also made a significant connection with the Latino business owners by beginning his remarks in Spanish. It meant a lot to the business community that he made that effort.”
City Manager Jay Ash and Councilors-at-Large Leo Robinson and Brian Hatleberg attended the forum. Chelsea Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Don Harney and Chamber President Arthur Arsenault represented the local business organization.
Ash said the forum was beneficial to Chelsea residents and he praised the Chamber of Commerce for its role in organizing the event.
“It’s great any time we get together to solicit the opinions of the people in the community who have concerns about a potential casino or see the benefits of a potential casino,” said Ash. “The Chamber of Commerce is great to organize the Latino business owners who are an important part of our community and we heard a lot of good questions. I’m hoping that they’re getting a lot of good feedback so they can continue to participate in the process.”