Charlie Baker: Officials to Decide Wynn Boston Harbor’s Fate

Charlie Baker Wynn Boston Harbor Casino

Charlie Baker said Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria and MGC Chairman Stephen Crosby would be key deciders.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said that state regulators and local Everett city officials will have a big hand in deciding whether Wynn Boston Harbor must be sold or gets to remain in the hands of Wynn Resorts. Steve Wynn, founder and former CEO of Wynn Resorts, recently left the company due to scandal.

Officals with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission launched a probe into Steve Wynn’s alleged misconduct, which the company CEO denied. The MGC is considering the “sustainability” of Wynn Resorts officials to hold on to the single Boston-area casino license, which will be worth many billions of dollars in the coming years.

When asked by reporters at an unrelated event at the Omni Parker House Hotel about the fate of the $2.4 billion casino resort, Gov. Baker said, “Keep in mind that the Gaming Commission’s investigation is ongoing, and some of the things that were most important to people — Steve Wynn leaving the board, Steve Wynn selling out his position in the company — those have happened.”

Carlo DeMaria Claims “Veto Power”

Several other factors are involved. For instance, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria — where the Wynn Boston Harbor casino is located — said he has “veto power” over whether Wynn Resorts remains the owner of the property. That is a remarkable claim, seeing how Wynn Resorts bullied nearby Somerville in a 2016 standoff over the casino’s amazing 85-year lease it negotiated with MassDEP.

Steve Wynn even quarrelled with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh over a traffic mitigation funds and saw Boston’s lawsuit tossed.

A number of civic groups have called for the Las Vegas casino company to change the name of the resort to something without the name “Wynn” in it. That might be the plan, since Wynn Resorts has registered 10 separate domain names with variations on the words “Encore Boston“. Encore is the only other brand name associated with Wynn Resorts casinos.

Matt Maddox Might Sell Everett Casino

New Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox also is said to be considering the sale of Wynn Boston Harbor altogether. That led to rampant speculation that Galaxy Entertainment, MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, or Las Vegas Sands might buy the resort.

Much of recent speculation centered on rumors that MGM Resorts, another Las Vegas Strip company with national and international business interests, might buy out Wynn Resorts entirely. Massachusetts might be faced with an MGM Boston Harbor, though that plan has complications, too. Under Massachusetts law, no single gaming operator can own more than one gaming license in the state.

MGM Resorts Could Not Buy Wynn Boston Harbor

Since MGM Resorts soon will open the MGM Springfield in Western Massachusetts, it would be illegal for MGM Resorts to buy the Wynn Boston Harbor. A buyout of Wynn Resorts by Jim Murren’s company therefore would require either MGM Resorts to sell the Everett casino, or the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to change it policies.

Charlie Baker: Local & State Officials to Have Big Role

Outside the Omni Parker House Hotel on Tuesday, Gov. Charlie Baker kept the matter focused on the decision making of state and local officials — not gaming executives.

Gov. Baker said of the officials’ role, “Certainly the Gaming Commission and the city of Everett have major roles to play in whatever happens on that site, as they should, and I fully expect those’ll play out as more information becomes available going forward.”

Gaming Commission to Decide on Qualifier Request

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby said that efforts are being made to remove Steve Wynn from any relationship to the Wynn Boston Harbor. Crosby said that lawyers for Steve Wynn, Wynn Resorts, and Wynn MA LLC files requests with the MGC to have Steve Wynn removed as a “qualifier” — a term for a key person involved with the development.

Crosby said, later this week, the gaming commission will meet to discuss the request. These steps are designed to eliminate the need for more major actions, or perhaps avoid the heightened scrutiny by the Gaming Commission’s probe into Steve Wynn’s misconduct. Massachusetts regulators agreed to share their findings with gaming regulators in Macau, who have oversight of Wynn Resorts’ most lucrative casinos: Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace.