Gam­ing panel talks Wynn strat­egy

Com­mis­sion mired in law­suit over Everett casino

Boston Herald - - BIZ SMART - By JONATHAN NG

State gam­ing reg­u­la­tors met be­hind closed doors yes­ter­day to flesh out a strat­egy for the on­go­ing le­gal fight in Ne­vada with bil­lion­aire casino mag­nate Steve Wynn.

“It’s awk­ward for all of us,” said Gayle Cameron, Mas­sachusetts Gam­ing Com­mis­sion in­terim chair­woman. “We made a de­ci­sion early on to move in a par­al­lel track, mean­ing we would be in­ves­ti­gat­ing and the li­censee was mov­ing for­ward with the project.”

Com­mis­sion­ers went into a closed-door ex­ec­u­tive ses­sion to dis­cuss “what the chal­lenges are mov­ing for­ward,” said Cameron. “There is pend­ing lit­i­ga­tion in Ne­vada which has to be han­dled first be­fore we can move for­ward.”

The gam­ing com­mis­sion launched its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Wynn Re­sorts in Jan­uary after a Wall Street Jour­nal re­port that month de­tailed al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct against the com­pany’s then-CEO, Steve Wynn.

Cameron said the com­mis­sion­ers “were ready for an ad­ju­di­ca­tory process” had the casino czar not filed a law­suit last month.

In court fil­ings, Wynn’s at­tor­neys wrote that “Mass Gam­ing of­fi­cials have sim­ply donned the judge’s robe, cracked the gavel, and uni­lat­er­ally de­ter­mined that Mr. Wynn has failed to sus­tain his bur­den of es­tab­lish­ing that any priv­i­lege ap­plies to the un­known uni­verse of doc­u­ments ac­quired dur­ing the Mass Gam­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

In Novem­ber, the Her­ald re­ported that a Ne­vada judge blocked the Com­mis­sion from re­leas­ing its month­s­long in­ves­ti­ga­tion, stymieing state gam­ing reg­u­la­tors from de­cid­ing if Wynn Re­sorts should be al­lowed to keep its Everett casino li­cense.

At­tor­neys for the com­mis­sion ar­gued in court fil­ings a pro­tracted lit­i­ga­tion “will al­most cer­tainly re­sult in a de­lay in open­ing the gam­ing es­tab­lish­ment, in turn de­lay­ing 4,500 full-time job op­por­tu­ni­ties, and de­priv­ing (Mas­sachusetts) of mil­lions of dol­lars in tax rev­enue ev­ery month.”

Con­struc­tion at En­core Bos­ton Har­bor is chugging along while the Com­mis­sion’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing. The $2.6 bil­lion casino re­sort along the Mys­tic River is slated to open in June 2019.

Last week, the Her­ald re­ported Mo­he­gan Sun is pre­par­ing to make a push for the Everett casino should Wynn Re­sorts lose its li­cense, and has met with at least one lo­cal com­mu­nity about its in­ter­est.

FAITH NINIVAGGI / BOS­TON HER­ALD FILE

AWK­WARD SPOT: The Mas­sachusetts Gam­ing Com­mis­sion yes­ter­day met be­hind closed doors to dis­cuss its strat­egy for the on­go­ing le­gal bat­tle in Ne­vada with casino mogul Steve Wynn. ‘It’s awk­ward for all of us,’ Gam­ing Com­mis­sion in­terim chair­woman Gayle Cameron, above at a meet­ing in April, said.

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