Did Steve Wynn Know What He Was Getting Into With “Wynn Boston Harbor?”

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Steve Wynn - Annoyed in Everett?

Steve Wynn – Annoyed in Everett?

“Massachusetts is a different kind of place”

392168-entering-plainridge-park-dc214That’s the answer I received from a trio of suits on the casino floor to almost every question I asked at Plainridge Park’s soft opening last month. When I asked to even take a picture of their food venues, one said “no” while another called because he wasn’t sure.  I explained that I understood taking pictures of the casino wasn’t allowed in any casino, who I was and that I was covering their opening for NE Time Gambling. Then finally the third said, “you have to understand, Massachusetts is a different kind of place”

I just wonder if Mr. Wynn knew “Massachusetts is a different kind of place” when he started this adventure to get a casino in the Boston area. I hope if feels it’s all worth it in the end.

Check out a previous post that quickly sums up the decision to pick Wynn proposal over the Mohegan’s in “Wynn Gets Boston License – Pros & Cons.”

The first few stumbling blocks that Steve-o didn’t like he expected to have changed – because he’s Steve Wynn, of course.  The “Massachusetts is a different kind of place” issues, such as ATMs off the floor, complete non-smoking casino floors, no-alcohol on casino floors (brought on from food venues or comped on the casino floor) and especially the suggested $600 limit on taxable jackpot payouts were only ankle-biters to the great Steve Wynn.  But when it comes to $$$, Mr. Wynn can see past all those annoyances. But did he envision the legal onslaught that was to come? Remember, “Massachusetts is a different kind of place”

Old Wynn Everett Hotel

First hotel rendition

The next blip on the screen was that the Gaming Commission didn’t like his hotel (gasp!) – no problem, he just he copied the look from his Las Vegas properties Wynn & Encore.  He knew what the MGC wanted – Las Vegas in Boston.  So he showed them, they drooled, and the bro-mance continued.

Will this be New England's Aria?

Accepted 2nd Hotel rendition – vaguely familiar?

As an aside, you can probably notice I’m not a fan of Steve Wynn.  I respect what he has done – many say he single-handedly changed Las Vegas properties forever by buying land next to Caesars and opening the Mirage in 1989.  I respect his inspiration, his love of art, his ability to envision what others in the industry could not see or do. But I have trouble trying to past the fact that he’s just “too big for his britches.” Doesn’t it seem that he saw Boston as a money-maker, and that’s all?  Doesn’t it seem he can’t be bothered with the Bay State’s peskiness while he concentrates on competition to his properties in Las Vegas and Macau?

Well, now the Massachusetts gambling regulators (MGC) Thursday lost their bid to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Boston challenging the award of the state’s most lucrative casino license to Wynn Resorts. The commission had argued that the city’s 153-page lawsuit was “effectively unanswerable” because it was so verbose.

So, it’s too long to read is reason for dismissal, let’s not waste time with THAT document. (No arrogance there?)

Jon Keller, WBZ-TV News’ Political Analyst, said it well recently in a brief editorial concerning Wynn Everett and the Boston Olympic Proposal:
mstc river everet

Wynn Everett site as it looks today.

“Steve Wynn has caught himself a hornet’s nest with his scheme for a Vegas-style casino across from the Everett Costco. First it was the environmental review that let the air out of Wynn’s limo; now, it’s a fusillade of lawsuits from his neighbors. Massachusetts has struggled with an anti-business reputation over the years…..The takedowns of the Olympics and Wynn’s World are the opposite of anti-capitalism. They’re about people protecting what they have from what they see as the careless depredations of wealthy speculators. We’ve seen that kind of thing around here before. They called it the American Revolution. Wynn and the Olympics should have read up on that before they went hunting here.

750px-Suffolk_Downs_race_results_boardBoston and two other cities — Revere and Somerville — have filed separate lawsuits against the commission. The cities say commission members bent rules time and again to favor Wynn’s project over one by Mohegan Sun for the Suffolk Downs horse racing track in Revere. Mohegan Sun and Suffolk Downs workers also are plaintiffs in Revere’s lawsuit.

Boston’s many allegations say that commission members changed application rules and regulations to benefit Wynn and that Wynn representatives knew criminally suspect figures had an ownership stake in the former chemical plant site they hope to develop. Boston recently issued 17 subpoenas to current and former state officials and others tied to the project. It alleges that former state troopers working as private investigators for Wynn may have known about the criminal ties to the property, a revelation the city says should lead Wynn to lose its license, if proven true.  And more seem to be in the works.

Wynn, which is not a party in any of the three lawsuits, has of course threatened to sue Boston for defamation.

Welcome to Massachusetts, Mr. Wynn.  I hope you understand that “Massachusetts is a different kind of place.”  It ain’t Vegas and it ain’t Macau – for sure.

That’s all for now.

Binbin