This Saturday, Everett voters will be going to the polls to decide on the Wynn Resort proposal.
To say that this is just another vote dismisses the importance of the final outcome after the ballots have been counted. If approved by the voters, and then approved by the State Gaming Commission, this project will dramatically change Everett for the next two generations.
We are not going to try to minimize the negative social impacts of a casino in Massachusetts. That decision and those consequences already have been debated and decided by the elected members of the State Legislature and the Governor when they gave their approval for the operations of three casinos in the state.
But what we are going to discuss is whether one of those casinos should be located in Everett.
We are past the point of acting like an ostrich and sticking our heads in the sand, hoping that a casino would not be located in the metro Boston area.
In our analysis, the only other viable casino would be located less than five minutes from the Everett city line at the Suffolk Downs site in East Boston/Revere. So like it or not, Everett will be impacted by a casino.
If that is the case, then the larger question is what can we gain as a city and community if the casino is located here.
If the casino is located at Suffolk Downs, Everett gets nothing.
If the casino is located in Everett, we have hit the jackpot in terms of its huge and beneficial effect upon our tax base and the right to mitigate the problems that might arise from having a casino.
If the voters had to decide on just locating the Wynn Resort in Everett without a casino, we would predict that the outcome would be unanimous for the resort.
But the question of a casino changes the debate.
We have stayed at Steve Wynn’s casinos in Las Vegas on several occasions and can attest to the unbelievable experience that one receives as a guest.
Over the last few months, Steve Wynn has undergone a background check by many state and local officials. And in every case, the character of Steve Wynn is impeccable.
For more than 40 years, Wynn has set the standard and continues to raise the bar for the ever-changing casino industry. The revenues from hotel rooms, restaurants, and other amenities that are located in the Wynn/Encore Resort are greater than the revenue from the casino gambling. This fact is highly unusual in the casino business.
Steve Wynn has promised a first class resort that will top any other hotel accommodations in today’s Boston market. He has stressed that his hotels are a destination and he has promised to be a good neighbor in Everett.
Having spent almost our entire life in these small communities outside of Boston, the common denominator for the character of a person comes down to this: Does this person keep his word?
Steve Wynn has been found to have a word and we have no doubt that what he promises today, will become reality tomorrow.
According to City Clerk Michael Matarazzo, this special election may have 35 to 40 percent of eligible voters go to the polls on Saturday. For a special election, this is a huge turnout.
Everett voters know the importance of their vote on Saturday. While we support the Wynn Resort proposal, we realize that the final decision is in the hands of the voters and we await their decision.