On August 16th, 2008, the owners of two area racing tracks signed an agreement that will keep dog racing at Wonderland Greyhound Park for now but the Suffolk Downs “racino”, the chance to purchase Wonderland Park. It also includes financial consideration for Wonderland to fix their current obligation, like the $800,000 in property taxes and other bills the racing track owes the city.
Both racing tracks will remain separately owned and managed while according to the joint statement issued by their owners, said that they will continue to work together to expand their gambling opportunities like slot machines and entertainment opportunities that are available to their customers.
Wonderland President Richard Dalton said that what it means for Wonderland is it gives for a good working arrangement that first and foremost protects the livelihood of their employees. He added that there will be a resolution on the overdue city bills as soon as possible. The collaboration has been discussed publicly for a week and in the works far much longer. Revere officials like state Representative Robert DeLeo are waiting to study the details of the collaboration and how it will change the future of the seventy-three year old racing tracks.
DeLeo said that he is optimistic about the merger and he added that his main concern is what will be the effect of this partnership to the employees and for the community. Wonderland with its three hundred fifty employees is struggling to maintain a race schedule in the face of a November referendum to phase out greyhound racing in Massachusetts. In its bid along with Suffolk and two other Massachusetts racing tracks to attract casinos or slot machines has minimal support despite the backing from DeLeo and state Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein.
Suffolk principal shareholder Richard Fields has poured money into the East Boston-Revere track since buying it in 2007 and made the successful transition of the racing track to a resort style casino his main goal. Its 2,300 workforce include track employees as well as horse racing employees.