North Shore lawmakers concerned about future of Everett casino, fear loss of jobs, tax revenue to state and host communities
North Shore, Massachusetts lawmakers have grown frustrated by the delayed release of the state gaming regulator’s probe into multiple sexual harassment allegations against casino tycoon Steve Wynn by employees at Wynn Resorts, the Boston Herald reports.
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The Las Vegas gaming and hospitality giant is currently building the $2.5-billion Encore Boston Harbor integrated resort in the Great Boston area.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission launched a probe into Mr. Wynn after the publication of a report by the Wall Street Journal detailing multiple sexual harassment and sexual misconduct incidents involving the embattled businessman. Former and current employees of the company have revealed that they were subjected to the casino boss’ unwanted sexual advances and were pressured into performing sex acts with him.
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Mr. Wynn denied all allegations following the release of the WSJ report. He resigned as Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts in early February.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has said its investigation aims to find out whether Wynn Resorts had any previous knowledge of the multiple sexual misconduct incidents and how the company reacted and addressed the allegations once those emerged. The gaming regulator has also pointed out that the results of its probe would help it determine whether Wynn Resorts is suitable to operate what would be Massachusetts’ second integrated resort with a gaming floor.
The property is slated to open doors on June 24, 2019, but local lawmakers fear that the ongoing Wynn situation could delay the opening and risk thousands of jobs and millions in revenue to the state.
”I Want a Casino Open on June 24”
The Boston Herald reports that North Shore lawmakers have been extremely frustrated by the latest developments in relation to the MassGaming probe. The gaming regulator was expected to release the results of its ten-month investigation into the sexual harassment allegations against Mr. Wynn this month.
However, news emerged in November that Mr. Wynn filed a legal complaint in the Clark County District Court, seeking to block the publication of MassGaming’s report. Mr.
Wynn and his legal team argued that the report was based on privileged information communicated to the gambling regulator by Wynn Resorts.
Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez temporarily blocked the release of the results from the probe, saying that she wanted to hear arguments from all involved parties and determine whether privileged information was indeed used. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for today, December 20.
North Shore lawmakers have expressed concerns that those developments could delay the launch of Encore Boston Harbor in June 2019. Massachusetts Rep. Joe McGonagle told local media that he respected the Gaming Commission, but he wanted to see the “suitability process over.” He went on to say that his constituents wanted to go to work and that the integrated resort would become a game changer for the Greater Boston area.
Encore Boston Harbor, currently under development in the city of Everett, is expected to create 4,500 full-time jobs for residents of the state and millions in tax revenue and other contributions.
If Wynn Resorts is deemed unsuitable to operate the Everett casino resort, the company might be stripped from its license. Mohegan Sun, which operates a casino in neighboring Connecticut, has previously said that it is ready to take over the project, if Wynn Resorts loses its right to operate in Massachusetts.
Commenting on that, Rep. RoseLee Vincent has told local media that she wants to see the casino become a reality, no matter whether it is operated by Wynn Resorts or another company. She went on to say that the project is too far along construction phase to “not be completed in a timely manner.”
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