Brief

Wynn's $2.1B Everett, MA resort casino slated for June 2019 opening

Dive Brief:

  • A unanimous "yes" vote by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has cleared the way for a June 3, 2019 opening of the $2.1 billion Wynn Boston Harbor casino and hotel in Everett, MA, according to The Boston Globe.

  • The commission approved the hotel design and opening date for the 3 million-square-foot project, which is already underway and is expected to create 4,000 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent ones once the hotel and casino are complete. The casino is also expected to spur additional area development.

  • The opening date was pushed back approximately one year as the cities of Boston and neighboring Somerville, MA, filed lawsuits — costing nearly $2.5 million total, according to Boston.com – in attempt to stop the project from going forward.

Dive Insight:

Both Boston and Somerville filed legal challenges against the state's decision to give Wynn the one available gaming license over a Mohegan Sun–Suffolk Downs proposal. In addition, Somerville tried to scuttle the project based on issues of traffic, air quality and the decision to grant Wynn an environmental permit to build along the Mystic River. As of June, Somerville had spent almost $400,000 to fight casino construction, while Boston expended $1.9 million.  

Wynn calls its Boston Harbor project the largest private development in state history and awarded Boston-based Suffolk Construction the $1 billion construction contract in January of this year. Opponents attacked the casino's economic-benefit projections early on, disputing claims that the completed project would generate $260 million in tax revenue for the state, an amount much larger than Massachusetts' existing gambling operations had managed to generate. Wynn countered that its games and attractions would draw much larger crowds.

Still, Wynn will have competition from the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe's $500 million First Light Resort & Casino, about 40 miles south of Boston in Taunton, MA. The U.S. Department of the Interior granted sovereign territory status to the tribe, which made its casino deal possible. The tribe said its casino complex will feature a 150,000- square-foot casino, 600-room hotel, 15,000-square-foot event center and 25,000-square-foot water park, as well as restaurant and retail space. The entire project, it said, should be a $140-million economic boon to the community and create approximately 1,000 union construction jobs. 

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Top image credit: Vegas Travelivery