The state's top gambling regulator has stepped away from the process for awarding a casino license in the Boston area.

The decision by Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby comes after he was criticized for attending at his own expense a private Kentucky Derby viewing party Saturday at the Suffolk Downs horse racing track. It is the site of a casino proposed by Mohegan Sun.

Crosby announced at the beginning of Thursday's commission meeting he would recuse himself going forward.

Commissioner James McHugh led the meeting, in which the commission is expected to decide whether to grant Boston's request to be named a "host community" for casino proposals in the neighboring cities of Revere and Everett.

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh had previously called on Crosby to recuse himself, citing statements critical of the city's host community request.