Boston Stripped of Surrounding Community Status for Wynn Project

Massachusetts Gaming

By Abim Thomas and Stephanie Aronzon

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission  (“Commission”) stripped Boston of its status as a “surrounding community” for the proposed Wynn casino. While initially the Commission appeared to agree with Boston that the Commission should come up with a compensation package for Boston, Deputy General Counsel Todd Grossman advised the Commission that Boston’s refusal to arbitrate with Wynn and to participate in the process meant that the city had waived its surrounding community status according to state gaming law.

Acting Commission Chair James McHugh stated that a letter was sent the previous week to Boston reminding it of the consequences of not participating in the surrounding community process, and the Commission received no response. The unresponsiveness on the part of Boston was cited as making it impossible for the Commission to develop a surrounding community agreement.

If Wynn is awarded the license, Boston will be able reapply for surrounding community status in the future, and the Commission can also determine whether Boston should receive any payments from Wynn in the absence of a surrounding community agreement. Mayor Walsh stated this decision showed the Commission was “slanted… towards this industry and not towards the residents of the city of Boston and the actual taxpayers….”  Walsh also disputed that Boston was unresponsive, noting the city was still open to striking some sort of deal with Wynn.

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