American casino operator Wynn Resorts Limited has voiced its opposition to a proposal that could see voters in the state of Massachusetts approve a second slots-only gambling facility just three miles away from its under-construction Wynn Boston Harbor development.
According to a report from The Boston Globe newspaper, developer Eugene McCain wants to build a slots-only facility in the north Boston suburb of Revere pending the successful outcome of a November ballot referendum, which is known as Question One. June saw the entrepreneur win the right to have the issue placed before voters in two month’s time while he has reportedly also collected enough signatures to hold a local vote that is scheduled for October 18.
“It’s not fair to Wynn Resorts [Limited],” Robert DeSalvio from Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts Limited told the newspaper. “We came into Massachusetts understanding there would be three casinos and one slot parlor under state law, not three casinos and two slot parlors. Someone shouldn’t come in now and circumvent the law.”
Following the passage of legislation in 2011, Penn National Gaming Incorporated was granted permission to open its slots-only Plainridge Park Casino in the town Plainville, which is located near the border with Rhode Island and some 38 miles southwest of Boston. This facility is set to be joined in 2018 by the $950 million MGM Springfield casino from MGM Resorts International while the $2.1 billion Wynn Boston Harbor is due to open in 2019 offering some 3,200 slots alongside 168 table games.
Although he declined to say whether Wynn Resorts Limited would be helping to finance opposition to the statewide November ballot question, DeSalvio did declare that his firm had already spent $300 million on its Wynn Boston Harbor development.
“Right now we are monitoring it,” DeSalvio told The Boston Globe. “The casinos are not even up and running yet. Let’s let them get built before doing anything.”
Question One is moreover facing opposition from Robert DeLeo, Speaker for the Massachusetts House Of Representatives and one of the architects of the 2011 legislation.
“I stand in opposition to Question One,” DeLeo told The Boston Globe. “When we crafted the law, my main focus was on boosting the economy and creating jobs. Key to that effort was creating an independent Gaming Commission that conducts thorough market analyses and then makes informed decisions. This slapdash proposal would upset the deliberate and delicate balance we worked so hard to create.”
McCain’s hopes of holding a local referendum in October are additionally being challenged by Brian Arrigo, the mayor for Revere. The politician explained that he wants to attract different developments to the planned site of the slots-only venue and believes holding the vote would cost his city’s electoral commission up to $50,000. The mayor has vowed to continue his fight despite losing a request last month to have the referendum postponed with a judge ruling that supporters had met the legal requirement of collecting 4,800 qualified signatures.
“We’re trying to get in front of a judge as soon as possible to ask for a stay,” Joe Gravellese, an aide to Arrigo, told the newspaper. “We think this would place too much of a burden on our election commission.”