Gaming Commission picks Wynn over Mohegan Sun

Wynn lands eastern Massachusetts gaming license

Artists' renditions of the proposed Mohegan Sun casino in Revere (left) and Wynn Resorts' Everett casino (right).

BOSTON (WWLP) – By a vote of 3-1, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has picked Wynn Resorts over Mohegan Sun for the sole casino gaming license in eastern and central Massachusetts.

Wednesday at 10:00 A.M., Wynn will have to accept the conditions of the award that the commission sets forth.

Wynn’s casino proposal is at a former industrial site along the Mystic River in Everett.  Mohegan Sun’s was in Revere at Suffolk Downs.  Commissioner John McHugh was the only commissioner to vote against Wynn’s project, as he favored Mohegan Sun’s. Commissioners Gayle Cameron, Bruce Stebbins, and Enrique Zuniga voted in Wynn’s favor.

Mohegan Sun originally wanted to build a casino in Palmer, having purchased land off the Massachusetts Turnpike since before casinos were even legalized in Massachusetts. Town voters struck Mohegan’s plan down, however, in a November 2013 town-wide vote.  Mohegan Sun then quickly moved its plans to Revere, but that bid has been shut down by the gaming commission.

Wynn joins MGM Springfield and Penn National in Plainville as the three recipients of a Massachusetts Gaming License.  Penn National’s license is for slots only. The commission has yet to award a license to operate a casino in southeastern Massachusetts.

The fate of all these casino proposals, however, rests with the state’s voters. In November, a statewide vote on Ballot Question 3 will decide whether the state’s 2011 casino law will be repealed. If the referendum passes, casino gambling will again be illegal in Massachusetts. If the effort is defeated, however, these casino proposals can more forward.

Statement of Mitchell Etess, CEO of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority:

“We are extremely disappointed in today’s decision. Mohegan Sun has worked incredibly hard to develop a comprehensive proposal that will deliver the most economic development and revenue for the Commonwealth. We have worked cooperatively with our thirteen host and surrounding communities, met or exceeded all of the Commission’s conditions and believe we are the best choice for the Commonwealth’s flagship casino.

We want to thank our supporters, Suffolk Downs, Mayor Rizzo, the city of Revere and all of our partners for their tireless efforts to bring jobs and economic growth to this region.”

Statement of Chip Tuttle, COO from Suffolk Downs:

“We are extraordinarily disappointed as this action is likely to cost the Commonwealth thousands of jobs, small business and family farms. We will be meeting with employees and horsemen over the next several days to talk about how we wind down racing operations as a 79-year legacy of thoroughbred racing in Massachusetts will be coming to an end, resulting in unemployment and uncertainty for many hard-working people.”

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