Wynn Resorts signaled late last week that it plans to move ahead with the opening of the Encore Boston Harbor resort casino, and not to appeal the decision or punishments – including a $35 million fine – levied against them by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC).
Now, many local officials in Everett and surrounding communities are asking that the funds from that fine be used locally, and not simply put into the state coffers to be used for any numbers of things.
“Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox and the Board of Directors have worked diligently to make the important and necessary changes to the Company’s corporate leadership, governance, compliance programs and Human Resources policies,” read a statement by Wynn Resorts late last week. “With the MGC review complete, our company is now focused on a successful launch of Encore Boston Harbor, and the recruiting and training of 5,500 team members who will be bringing Greater Boston and New England a luxury hospitality and entertainment experience unlike anything the region has ever seen.”
In a meeting on Monday, the MGC called for the fine to be paid by May 31 and to be placed in an escrow account with no specified use as of yet.
Several City officials are calling for that fine – which is found money in many regards – to be distributed locally to Everett and other surrounding cities.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria said he would like to see the $35 million fine go mostly towards infrastructure in Everett and other cities surrounding the casino – infrastructure that would relieve and improve traffic in and around the casino.
He said he would like to see the money, specifically, go towards the Silver Line Extension, the new Pedestrian/cycle bridge construction, the Assembly Row Station head house, new Commuter Rail stops, and extensions of regional dedicated bus lanes.
He also said he would like part of that money to also go to support non-profits that address women’s issues like domestic violence and human trafficking.
Councilor Anthony DiPierro has already put an item on the next Council agenda for May 13 to have a discussion about that money – and if the City has any claim to it for mitigation purposes.
“I’m looking to have a discussion on where the money is going and if we are entitled to it, which I feel we should be, for mitigation purposes,” he said.
Councilor Michael McLaughlin said he agreed with DiPierro and would like to see Everett benefit from the fine.
“I fully join with my colleagues not only in Everett but in the surrounding communities on calling for the $35 million to be reinvested into the communities which will be impacted by Encore Boston Harbor,” he said. “These funds can go beyond measurable imagination to benefit the quality of life for so many. Numerous non-profit organizations like Portal to Hope, Project Bread, Jimmy Fund, Autism Awareness are just a few. Programs for arts and theater and so many more groups as well. If our hope is to see a significant impact by the penalty, then these monies should be reinvested into the lives of people that are impacted beyond their control.”
Additionally, across the Mystic River, Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards has also called for the fine to be distributed to Charlestown, Everett and other surrounding communities.