- Associated Press - Friday, April 25, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - A group of local anti-casino advocates is backing Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh as he calls into question the state’s process for licensing a casino in its eastern region.

“No Eastie Casino,” said in a brief filed with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Thursday, that its members “fully endorse” the Walsh administration’s objection to a May 1 public hearing in which the commission is expected to weigh whether Boston should be designated a “host community” for casinos proposed in neighboring Revere and Everett.

The group, which formed in 2012 to oppose a proposed casino at Suffolk Downs, the horse racing track in East Boston, said it also backs the city’s call for the state’s top gambling regulator to recuse himself from the eastern casino licensing process.

The Walsh administration has accused gambling commission chairman Stephen Crosby of making several “prejudicial” statements critical of the city’s host community status request. Crosby, so far, has declined to recuse himself.

Casino giants Mohegan Sun and Wynn, which have proposed casinos in Revere and Everett, oppose granting Boston host community status, which would give city residents an opportunity to vote on - and potentially reject - their proposals. The casinos say Boston is eligible for “surrounding community” status, which would entitle the city to some of the casino profits but not allow for citywide voter referendums.

“No Eastie Casino,” in its brief, said it agrees with Walsh that the current process violates the city’s due process rights because it limits the city’s ability to receive and present evidence to support its claim for host community status.

Mohegan Sun has proposed a resort-style casino on land Suffolk Downs owns in Revere. Wynn proposes one in Everett.

Thursday was the deadline for written briefs in advance of the May 1 hearing. Mohegan Sun, Wynn, the Walsh administration and Revere Mayor Daniel Rizzo’s administration have all previously filed arguments with the commission.