The City of Revere and a union representing Suffolk Downs workers is suing the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, challenging its decision to award Greater Boston’s sole casino license to the proposed Wynn Resorts casino in Everett.
Revere had sought to host a Mohegan Sun casino at Suffolk Downs, but the state’s gaming board opted instead to give the license to Wynn in September (pending the outcome of November’s ballot initiative to ban casinos outright).
The complaint alleges that the board’s decision allows Wynn to “evade the employment, economic development and other commitments that Wynn made throughout the application process.’’ The Everett proposal also “fails to mitigate significant traffic problems in Boston,’’ the complaint alleges, and gave Wynn an easier time during the application process while “it imposed more stringent requirements on other applicants.’’
Suffolk Downs held what were expected to be its final races earlier this month. A Mohegan Sun casino at the race track would have kept the track open. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 103, which represents 145 Suffolk Downs employees who work at Suffolk Downs, filed the suit with the city.
Last week, an attorney for Suffolk Downs wrote to the gaming board, urging it to reconsider its decision—especially in light of recent indictments handed down to property owners of the Everett site where Wynn intends to build. Those indictments alleged that the landowners had hidden the ownership stake of convicted felon Charles Lightbody from the board and Wynn. The state’s casino laws prohibit a convicted felon from profiting off a casino deal.
Mohegan Sun has also said it would keep its eyes on the Everett situation, saying it still “greatly values the Massachusetts market.’’ According to MassLive’s Garrett Quinn, Mohegan Sun is in support of the suit.
"We support their efforts on this suit." - Mohegan Sun CEO Mitchell Etess on the Revere/Suffolk Downs employees suit vs @MassGamingComm— Garrett Quinn (@GarrettQuinn) October 16, 2014
The land ownership issue was also present in the lawsuit from the city and IBEW filed Thursday, which alleges that awarding the Eastern Massachusetts license to Wynn would “enrich individuals affiliated with criminal enterprises.’’
UPDATE: The Massachusetts Gaming Commission issued the following statement about the suit Thursday afternoon, suggesting it comes from sore feelings:
The Gaming Commission anticipated and understands that applicants and other invested parties, who are unsuccessful in their bid for one of the limited number of highly-coveted expanded gaming licenses, are going to be sorely disappointed. We have seen that intense disappointment express itself in a number of ways, including legal action and even false accusations of bias against the Commission. This latest effort is yet another manifestation of disappointment from invested parties after a lengthy evaluation and public deliberation process that was based solely on the merits of competing proposals. We are confident that this complex licensing process has been executed in a manner that is comprehensive, thoughtful and fair, albeit unsatisfactory and disappointing to those who had hoped for a different outcome.
UPDATE 2: IBEW Local 103 also issued a statement:
The Expanded Gaming Law was passed to bring jobs and revenue to Massachusetts. The law established a Commission that would merit out casino proposals with strong guidelines as to how they would conduct their business to ensure the integrity of the process. We feel strongly that the Commission failed the Commonwealth by neglecting to meet these guidelines on several important fronts and 145 of our workers will lose their jobs and a 79 year historical institution will be lost due to this breach of duty if left unchallenged.