EVERETT — City residents sent an emphatic message today: They want Wynn.
By a landslide vote of 5,320 to 833—86.5 percent to 13.5 percent—Everett voters endorsed a $1.2 billion gambling resort proposal from Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn, who wants to build on vacant industrial land on the Mystic River waterfront.
The vote was the first binding referendum under the 2011 state law that legalized casino gambling in Massachusetts. No project can compete for a coveted casino license unless the voters of the host community approve the proposal at the ballot box.
About 32 percent of the city’s 19,400 voters turned out for the unusual Saturday referendum, according to the city clerk’s office.
“The voters of Everett have spoken clearly and decisively,” Wynn said in a statement. “The vote heightens our enthusiasm and dedication to this fine project. We thank the voters of Everett for their support and for making all of our efforts so easy.”
Casino opponent Evmorphia Stratis said she was not surprised by the results, given that the pro-casino group “Everett United, a supposedly a grass roots organization, had so much money pumped into it by Steve Wynn that they overwhelmed Everett with their campaign.”Mark Arsenault can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @bostonglobemark