Regulators Won't Decide Boston License This Week

Massachusetts gambling regulators said Wednesday they will hold off on awarding the lone Boston-area casino license this week to give Wynn Resorts and Mohegan Sun time to respond to requirements the state wants to impose on the winning bidder.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission asked Wynn to consider redesigning the exterior of its proposed resort complex, as a condition for receiving the license. The complex includes a 27-story glass hotel tower.

The commission also wants to require the Las Vegas casino giant to pay up to $200 million of the long-term costs to improve traffic-clogged Sullivan Square in Boston. Wynn proposes a $1.6 billion resort casino on about 30 acres of heavily-polluted land on the Everett waterfront.

For Mohegan Sun, the commission is considering requiring the company to secure $100 million more in equity for its proposed casino at the Suffolk Downs horse racing track in Revere.

The commission's announcement halts what had expected to be a week of deliberations leading up to a possible Friday decision. The casino companies now have until the close of business Friday to weigh in on the proposed requirements. The commission will reconvene Monday, and aims to award the license by Wednesday.

Earlier this week, each commission member released a report examining a specific aspect of the two projects.

Acting Commission Chairman James McHugh said in his review of each project's design that Wynn's hotel tower was too "generic" and did not fit in with the rest of the project. In her review of each project's traffic impacts, Commissioner Gayle Cameron concluded that Wynn's proposed improvements to Sullivan Square were inadequate.

Commissioner Enrique Zuniga reviewed each proposal's finances and expressed concerns that Mohegan Sun's was too highly leveraged. Mohegan Sun has $45 million in equity available to initiate construction and hopes to finance the remaining $732 million, according to his report.

The commission is charged with licensing up to three regional casinos and one slot parlor. It previously awarded MGM Resorts International a resort casino license for a Springfield development and Penn National Gaming a slot parlor license for its facility in Plainville.


This article was originally published on September 10, 2014.


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