Following a Massachusetts Gaming Commission hearing last Wednesday, at which the city of Boston was directed by the Gaming Commission to “work out” its issues with Steve Wynn’s casino proposal for Everett, or face the likelihood that the Gaming Commission would rule in Wynn’s favor, the city of Boston announced on Friday that it would begin negotiating with Wynn for a lesser Surrounding Community agreement instead.
Under the state’s expanded gaming legislation, surrounding communities can negotiate for compensation with casino developers, but cannot block projects.
The agreement was disclosed at Friday’s meeting of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which had seen representatives from both the city of Boston and Wynn Resorts, argue their points about “contested boundary lines between Boston and Everett about the shores of the Mystic River.
If Boston had been designated a host community for the project under state law, it would have given the city broad power over the development, including the power to kill it. Menino is supporting a competing casino proposal for Suffolk Downs in East Boston and Revere. The two proposals are also competing with a Foxwoods casino proposal in Milford for the lone Resort Casino license in the Greater Boston area..
The commission is expected to choose the winning applicant in early 2014.
Boston’s tenuous claim as a Host community to the Wynn plan rested with the odd shape of the city line, which darts across the Mystic River into the edge of the former Monsanto chemical site where Wynn intends to build.
The city boundary there was established when the city of Malden separated from Boston in the 1640s, so that Boston could have some control over both shores on the Mystic River, which at that time was a major thoroughfare for commerce.
However, since Wynn representatives were able to prove that no part of their planned development would be built on Boston land, that city’s status as a Host Community was greatly in doubt.