After hearing from the City of Boston and Wynn Resorts, the state gambling commission gave the two sides the rest of the week to resolve their dispute over whether part of Wynn’s proposed Everett casino is in Boston, or the commission will hold a formal hearing to decide the matter.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino and casino magnate Steve Wynn are arguing over whether Boston qualifies, under the 2011 state casino law, as a “host community” for Wynn’s $1.2 billion casino resort proposal on the Mystic River waterfront in Everett, based on Boston’s claim that part of the project may be in the capital city. Boston’s claim rests with the odd shape of the city line, which darts across the Mystic River into the edge of the former Monsanto chemical site where Wynn intends to build.
Lawyers for the city said Wynn’s reluctance to share information has contributed to “confusion” over Boston’s status.
Wynn’s representatives, including lawyer and former Governor William Weld, said there is no confusion: None of the project will be built in Boston, so Boston cannot be a host community. The Wynn team displayed maps that appear to meticulously exclude Boston land from the development area.
Commission members did not directly say which side is right, but suggested the maps provided by Wynn should solve the dispute.
“It looks to me the facts are pretty clear,” said commission Chairman Stephen Crosby.
The dispute is important because host communities have tremendous power over gambling projects, including the power to block them. Neighboring or “surrounding” communities, under the law, can negotiate for compensation but cannot block projects.
Menino’s spokeswoman Dot Joyce said this afternoon it is too soon to say how the city will respond to Wynn’s claims and documents. “It is easy to draw lines on a map and circumvent the boundaries of the city, but that doesn’t circumvent the impacts to the city,” particularly the Charlestown neighborhood near the proposed Wynn development site, she said. “The city will continue to fight for the full protection of Charlestown and the people of Charlestown.”