Massachusetts Gaming Commission Staff Issues Favorable Report On Wynn Resorts

Dec 16, 2013

The investigative unit of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has found Wynn Resorts suitable to bid for the lone casino license available in eastern Massachusetts.  The five-member commission conducted a hearing in Boston today on the results of the background investigation

The Investigations and Enforcement Bureau of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission found nothing that would disqualify Wynn Resorts from being issued a casino license in Massachusetts providing the company can explain to the commission’s satisfaction its business practices in Macau, China.

Wynn officials, including company founder and chairman Steve Wynn addressed the concerns at a gaming commission hearing Monday in Boston.  Wynn said his company’s business practices in Macau are based on his 47 years of experience in the casino business in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

" It isn't rocket science, it does not take an enormous amount of imagination, it just takes common  sense."

Gaming industry regulators in Massachusetts, and other states, have raised concerns about the use in Macau of   “junket operators” who are described as independent business people who recruit gamblers and provide credit.

" If someone was engaged in unlawful activity, or they belonged to an organized that engaged in unlawful activity then they certainly were disqualified from doing business with Wynn Resorts or Wynn Macau," said Wynn.

The conditions suggested by the gaming commission staff for Wynn are similar to what was recommended in the background investigation on MGM Resorts, the lone company seeking the regional casino license in western Massachusetts. Both Las Vegas based-companies operate casinos in Macau, which has become the world’s most lucrative gaming market.

It is up to the full five-member commission to make a final determination of suitability for both Wynn and MGM.   The commission deliberates in private and will issue a written decision in each case.

MGM is proposing an $800 million casino in downtown Springfield.

Wynn has proposed a $1.3 billion casino on the site of a former chemical company plant next to the Mystic River in Everett.  The other bidder for the casino license in the greater Boston region is Mohegan Sun, which is hoping to build on property owned by Suffolk Downs racetrack in Revere.  That project is subject to a voter referendum in Revere that will likely take place in February.  Mohegan Sun has passed its background investigation.

In a separate report issued earlier investigators found that a convicted felon had an alleged hidden interest in the proposed Everett casino property.  But, Karen Wells, the gaming commission’s lead investigator said there is no evidence anyone at Wynn knew about it.

The gaming commission voted 4-0 on Friday to approve a new land deal for the Everett casino that slashes the purchase price from the initial $70 million to $35 million, which an independent appraisal said is the fair market value of the property if it was being sold for a commercial development other than a casino.

Commission chairman Stephen Crosby removed himself from a vote on the land deal because of a long-standing friendship and a former business relationship with one of the land owners.