Boston mayor trying to stop Wynn getting license

Jul 29, 2013 7:07 PM

Popular politician Tom Menino, 70, is in the last months of his fifth term as mayor of Boston and he plans to use that time to be Steve Wynn’s biggest nemesis in the latter’s efforts to get a casino license in Massachusetts.

Ever since the Commonwealth decided that one of three casino licenses should be located in the northeast part of the state, Menino has insisted that the casino should be located in the City of Boston. After some haggling, he finally agreed to support placing the license at Suffolk Downs racetrack property in East Boston.

For Menino, who has been in office longer than any other Boston mayor, locating the casino in Boston should have been a slam dunk. That’s before Wynn brought his Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) company to Massachusetts to bid for the gambling license.

Initially, Wynn joined with Robert Kraft in proposing that the casino be located across from the New England Patriots stadium in Foxborough. That effort failed when the town’s political leadership decided they didn’t want a casino in their town.

The law provides that a license bidder must have the support of the community before it can apply for the license.

Now the City of Everett, a Boston suburb, has given full support to the Wynn $1.2 billion project, thus raising Menino’s ire. 

Having gained the momentum toward receiving the license and outmaneuvering the Suffolk Downs operators, Wynn now finds himself the target of the Boston political machine.

The ploy now being used to derail the Wynn movement focuses on the actual real estate that will be used to locate the casino in Everett. It is being suggested by Menino that the map that separates Everett/Boston along the Mystic River, actually places part of the Wynn  land in Boston. This would give Boston approval rights as the “host community.”

In answer, Wynn said his plans place everything within Everett City limits and indeed has no relationship to the City of Boston.

Now the Host Community Advisory Committee will investigate the matter to determine whether Boston’s influence will be felt on the Wynn development. When all is said and done, the final determination will be made by the Massachusetts Gambling Commission.

Meanwhile, Menino’s time in office is running out and his “lame duck” status continues to grow.

Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.

Contact Ray at [email protected].

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