Today at Boston City Hall, Mayor Tom Menino announced a new agreement that allows construction of a Caesars casino at the Suffolk Downs race track in exchange for substantial financial incentives and infrastructure improvements.

"I first want to thank Suffolk Downs, the Caesars team, and their partners for stepping up and doing the right thing, for believing in our city and investing in East Boston," Menino said. "Now, we must go back to the people of East Boston. I am proud to share the components of the agreement with them. It's my hope they will support it."

Currently, only the residents of East Boston and Revere — the communities in which Suffolk Downs is located — will have a chance to vote on the proposed casino. The Boston City Council could expand the East Boston vote to include the entire city. But Menino reiterated today that he believes an East Boston-only vote is best.

"This impacts East Boston more than any other community in the city of Boston," Menino explained. "I live out in Readville, 12 miles away. It doesn't impact me. Why should people in Readville, or West Roxbury, have a say in what happens in East Boston?"

The numbers touted by Menino today were impressive: $52 million in annual payments to the city; $33.4 million in upfront payments to East Boston; 4,000 permanent casino jobs, 2,500 temporary construction jobs as the casino complex is built. The agreement also promises a minimum of $45 million in infrastructure improvements, including a "flyover" on Route 1A, more than $9 million in improvements to local roads and intersections, and improvements to the Suffolk Downs MBTA station.

Sal LaMattina, the Boston city councilor who represents East Boston, called the agreement a windfall for his community.

"This agreement will transform my neighborhood," LaMattina said. "It will save jobs for the people that work there today at Suffolk Downs. It will provide jobs, hundreds of jobs, to people that live in my neighborhood — many who have to work two jobs to support their family."

But not everyone greeted today's announcement so enthusiastically. Mayoral candidate Bill Walczak, who's staked out an aggressive anti-casino stance, likened the proposed Suffolk Downs casino to the Trojan Horse in a statement. And Celeste Meyers — an East Boston resident and anti-casino activist who attended Menino's presser — tweeted: "6 @NoEastieCasino folks present for the release – we're off on the right foot for a long night of agreement review."

The date of Boston's casino vote will be set by the city clerk, and could occur as soon as 60 days from today.