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Wynn Resorts May Take Gamble on Everett, Massachusetts Site

Recent Heightened Interest in Everett Raises Prospect of a Bidding War for the
Location as well as the Eastern Massachusetts Gaming License

By Hillary Chabot, Boston HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Nov. 27, 2012--Casino titans are gearing up for an epic clash in the Boston market as the once-jilted Vegas tycoon Steve Wynn readies for a second Bay State play in a bid that puts him in direct competition with key rival Caesars Entertainment's proposal at Suffolk Downs.

"Do I welcome competition? Yeah, I welcome competition, but I want a casino in Boston, as does (Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino)," said Boston City Councilor Sal LaMattina. "I still think Suffolk Downs is a perfect location, and I would have a lot of concern that a casino is going to Everett."

Wynn, whose Foxboro casino proposal with Patriots owner Robert Kraft went down in flames, is set to personally tour a Mystic River site once owned by Monsanto Chemical this week. He sent representatives to visit the site a few weeks ago after the Herald reported that fellow resort bigwigs with Hard Rock International had expressed an interest in the site.

"A bunch of developers have gone down there," said Dave Rodrigues, spokesman for Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria. "The Wynn resorts were among them, and we're looking forward to seeing his vision for what he has for that site."

The 40-acre site, which is bordered by Route 99 and the Mystic River, offers developers a deep water port, direct access to Boston Harbor and close access to Interstate 93.

The new heightened interest in Everett raises the prospect of a bidding war not just for the location, but for the eastern Massachusetts gaming license that was previously considered as in the bag for Suffolk Downs owners Richard Fields and Joseph O'Donnell, with Caesars Entertainment.

Wynn, who faced bitter opposition to his $1 billion plan in Foxboro, declined to comment on the upcoming trip. A spokesman for Suffolk Downs didn't return a request for comment.

Caesars, Wynn's longtime rival, has teamed up with the East Boston horse racing track to develop a resort casino, and the companies are currently hashing out a traffic mitigation plan to present to Menino.

The state's casino law allows for three resort casino licenses, one each in eastern, western and southeastern Massachusetts. Caesars and Wynn would be competing for the eastern license.

But opponents of a casino at Suffolk Downs were rejoicing last night.

"I hope it goes to Everett," said East Boston resident Khrista Crystal. "Then I won't have to move out of my house."

Wynn is jockeying for an already heavily desired property, however, as Hard Rock has discussed building a new offramp for I-93 and a new commuter rail station and water taxi. Chicago casino titan Rush Street Gaming also has expressed interest in the site.

LaMattina said Menino has been monitoring the ongoing developments while recuperating in the hospital.

LaMattina added: "I think the mayor is very well aware of what is going on with the casinos."



(c)2012 the Boston Herald

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