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Casino License Decision Means The End For Suffolk Downs

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The last thoroughbred horse racetrack in New England is closing, as a result of this week’s casino licensing decision in greater Boston.

The last horse race at Suffolk Downs is scheduled for September 29th and the 80-year old track will close for good in December.  About a thousand people will lose their jobs.  Suffolk Downs Chief Operating Officer Chip Tuttle said the track has not been profitable since 2006.

"Our owners have been extraordinarly generous in keeping racing going and preserving those jobs while we awaiting the outcome of this decision. It is impossible for them to continue to do that."

Suffolk Downs had partnered with Mohegan Sun on a casino project, but the Massachusetts Gaming Commission picked Wynn Resorts for the only gaming license available in eastern Massachusetts.  A statement from the commission Thursday said it would explore every available option for saving thoroughbred racing.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.