Boston City Hall has filed a lawsuit to block the Massachusetts Gaming Commission from naming Boston’s neighbouring city of Everett as the host community for a proposed US$1.6 billion casino resort (pictured in a rendering) from Wynn Resorts Ltd.
Boston’s Mayor Martin J. Walsh is arguing Boston residents should get to vote on the project because they will bear the burden of the environmental impact and traffic congestion.
Wynn Resorts, a company chaired by its founder Steve Wynn, was in September awarded the sole licence to operate a casino in the state. The firm had chosen Everett, a community north of the Boston metro area, as its preferred location. The proposal beat out a plan from the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. Wynn plans to build its resort on the site of a former chemical plant. On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Wynn Resorts had finalised the US$35 million purchase of the site.
But Boston’s complaint, filed in state court on Tuesday, said the Gaming Commission should nullify the casino licence it awarded to Everett, and name Boston as the development’s formal host.
“It always has been our belief that Boston is a host community to the Wynn-planned casino,” Mr Walsh said in a statement, noting his administration failed to reach a deal with Wynn over compensation for the casino’s impact on Boston.
The Boston Herald newspaper cites unnamed City Hall sources saying the casino operator was ready to pay US$1 million to Boston this week in so-called mitigation payments, but the Walsh administration considered that too low.
Commenting on the lawsuit, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission said in a statement: “The Commission believes that we have reviewed these issues thoroughly, objectively and fairly, and that exhaustive review helped lead to the decision to award the Wynn licence with appropriate conditions.”
It added: “The Commission continues to believe that our resolution was appropriate but also fully understand that parties who are disappointed in our decisions may want to test that belief through litigation.”
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"The [Macau] government has a lead in this subject in regards to what should be done after the [gaming] concessions expire. We will be first listening to what the government will say”
Ambrose So Shu Fai
Vice-chairman and chief executive at Macau casino operator SJM Holdings