All throughout the casino licensing process in Greater Boston, there was a huge swath of folks who nearly always contended that the Wynn Resorts company was not serious about their proposal for a Massachusetts casino.
Many of those folks were, obviously, competitors, but many were just observers.
Even after Wynn won the license this past September, such talk continued in certain segments from those who had watched the casino licensing process carefully.
However, last Thursday, Wynn Resorts gave 85 million reasons for that kind of talk to stop.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) officially awarded Wynn Resorts the Greater Boston region casino license on Thursday morning, and though they didn’t need to, Wynn returned the favor by wiring the $85 million licensing fee to the state on that same morning.
Licensees have 30 days from the awarding to pay the licensing fee.
Robert DeSalvio, Wynn senior vice president of development, said the company wanted to show they are serious by paying the large fee as soon as possible.
“We just wanted to present the check today to signify our commitment to this project and that we are looking forward to completing our final environmental applications and getting started right after the first of the year,” he said, following a short ceremony at the South Boston Convention Center. “We anticipate remediation will start in the first quarter of 2015. We believe it to be a six-month remediation process and a 30-month build out. That’s putting us with an opening in December 2017.”
Commissioner Jim McHugh – who accepted the ceremonial check from DeSalvio – said he is very proud of the process and believes the Commonwealth has the very best operators.
“It’s a very exciting day,” he said. “Ask anyone and they’ll say we have three of the best operators in the business, if not the three best in the business. We’re very happy about that. We’re really proud of the quality of operators we’ve been able to attract and we look forward to continuing on.”
McHugh said Thursday was also exciting for the state because a significant revenue boost from the $85 million check was seen for numerous things, including education, transportation/infrastructure and an amplification of the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
He said the next step will be for Wynn to complete it’s environmental reports, and to periodically report back to the MGC for mandated updates.
“The next step in Region A is Wynn’s filing of the next phase of its MEPA reports,” he said. “They’re committed to doing that by the end of the year. There’s no set deadline, but that’s their commitment. Now, also, this award of the license triggers a number of periodic reports with regard to various stages of their progress. The first being in about 30 days. They’ll be reporting to us frequently.”
The main focus of the environmental reporting is traffic considerations, especially in Sullivan Square. Already, DeSalvio has said Wynn representatives have been meeting about twice a week to discuss these traffic issues. That, McHugh said, is encouraging to hear, as most of the license granting process last September in regards to the Wynn application dealt with pounding out a traffic plan.
“We haven’t seen anything resulting from those meetings before us, but we’re delighted they have engaged in conversations now because we did spend a great deal of time during the licensing process, and gave a lot of thought to, the traffic situation,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, Wynn President Steve Wynn has apparently been hard at work with his team of designers coming up with some new ideas for his project – as the MGC wasn’t so hot on the tower he had proposed during licensing.
DeSalvio told the Independent the results of that re-design would be coming very soon.
“Before the end of the year, we’ll be ready to present those new designs,” he said. “Mr. Wynn and the designers have been working hard on these new designs and I think everyone will be very happy with what they come up with.”
Reportedly, Wynn has put a great deal of effort into planning every detail of the entrance to the facility.