Gaming Commission Set to Mediate the Wynn-Boston Dispute: City Officials Plan to Attend Sept. 4th Meeting

The persistent, public bickering that has evolved over the summer as Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has traded barbs and challenges with representatives of Wynn Resorts about their proposed Everett resort casino has finally got the attention of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and its chairman, Stephen Crosby.

Mayor Menino and Wynn Resorts have been arguing publicly over the past several weeks about whether or not the city of Boston is or should be considered a “host community” under the terms of the Massachusetts Gaming Legislation.

Boston officials, including Menino, have said that they believe they are a host community, because a small sliver of the land that the Wynn resort is proposed for is on Boston land.

Wynn, which has steadfastly maintained that Everett is the only host community in their proposal, has pointed out that 100 percent of the casino-related development on the site is in Everett.

However, the public back and forth between the two parties had played out in newspapers and on telecasts for the last several weeks and apparently the Gaming Commission has had enough of the debate.

In a published report in Boston newspapers last week, Chairman Crosby said that the Gaming Commission, which has the authority to decide all such disputes, is inviting representatives of Wynn Development and the city of Boston to its next meeting to discuss the dispute and position itself to make a decision before the final part of the state’s gaming license application process unfolds.

Chairman Crosby told reporters that it is his wish to see the two sides work out an agreement, but that if the sides cannot overcome their dispute, it is possible that the Gaming Commission could decide to intercede and cast a ruling one way or another about Boston’s claim as a host community.

Mayor Menino is known to publicly support a competing proposal located in East Boston and Revere on land owned by Suffolk Downs.

If Boston were ruled to be a host community of the Wynn Resort proposal as well, the city could effectively kill the proposal by refusing to negotiate with Wynn Development. The state gaming law requires all host communities to work out a Host Agreement contract with developers and pass a voter referendum question on the proposal and the agreement.

Everett voters passed a referendum vote on the Wynn Proposal in June by an 82-18 percent margin.

According to the Gaming Commission website, the next meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, September 4 at 9:30 a.m., at a site to be determined as of Monday, August 26.

Gaming Commission board meetings are usually held on Thursdays, but the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah has caused a change in the scheduled meeting date and location.

On Monday, Assistant City Solicitor David Rodrigues said that city officials plan, likely including Mayor Carlo DeMaria, plan to attend the Gaming Commission meeting to look out for the city’s interests and answer questions that may potentially come up.

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