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Merrimack Valley

December 17, 2013

Panel: Wynn Resorts suitable for Mass. casino

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s investigative bureau has found Wynn Resorts suitable to open a resort casino in Everett.

The recommendation, made in a report released yesterday at a commission meeting, represents one less hurdle Wynn must clear as it seeks to win the sole eastern Massachusetts casino license allowed under the state’s 2011 casino law.

The commendation comes after four commission members signed off on a revised real estate deal for the proposed casino on Friday.

Steve Wynn, chief executive of Wynn Resorts, expressed confidence in the process.

“This is a big investment for us here in Boston,” he said. “This is not a box of slots. This is a ... fancy hotel.”

The recommendation also comes after Las Vegas-based Caesars filed a lawsuit against Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby for allegedly failing to disclose a potential conflict of interest in a timely manner related to the Wynn deal. Caesars had been a partner of the Suffolk Downs horse track in a resort casino bid, but withdrew from the plan in October over concerns raised during the background check by commission staff.

Karen Wells, director of the commission’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement, said the recommendation to find Wynn suitable comes with a few conditions, including convincing the commission that the company’s business practices in Macau meet the requirement of “responsible business practices.”

Macau is a Chinese administrative region that has become the most lucrative gambling market in the world. Both Wynn and MGM Resorts International, which hopes to build a casino in Springfield, have operations in Macau.

While Wynn’s Macau operations have come under scrutiny, Wynn said the company works hard to stay within the law.

“Do we allow illegal activity in our casinos? The answer is no, no, no,” Wynn said at Monday’s hearing.

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