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Wynn renews his push for casino in Foxborough

BARRY CHIN/GLOBE STAFF

Executives of Wynn Resorts chatted with Foxborough residents about a proposed casino near Gillette Stadium.

FOXBOROUGH — Casino developer Steve Wynn continued his wooing of Foxborough Wednesday night, dispatching a dozen of his executives to meet town residents at a low-key cocktail reception at the Renaissance Boston Hotel & Spa at Patriot Place.

“We’re ambassadors for the company,’’ said Julia Greenman, 31, director of restaurant operations at Wynn’s Las Vegas resort.

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The executives mingled with the crowd, conducted interviews with reporters, and chatted with residents about Wynn’s proposal to build a $1 billion gambling resort across the street from Gillette Stadium, on land owned by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

The Wynn casino plan stirred strident opposition when news of the proposal leaked in December. Since then, Wynn has been mostly quiet, working on designs and renderings for the project, which he is calling Wynn Foxborough.

The developer renewed his push to win local approval last week, making a pitch to voters in Foxborough with a 20-minute DVD, which Wynn mailed to about 7,000 local households.

The video played continuously on a screen at Wednesday night’s reception, flanked by renderings of Wynn’s proposal. The design, reminiscent of a large ski lodge, was inspired by a luxury home Wynn built in Sun Valley, Idaho, he has said.

Greenman has worked for Wynn eight years, advancing in the company after starting as breakfast manager at the resort’s 24-hour café, she said. She does not gamble.

“But I do eat,’’ she said. “And I go to the shows.’’

The local crowd that attended Wednesday night’s reception seemed mostly in favor of Wynn’s plans. At least 100 people attended.

Phyllis and Joseph Watkins, a retired couple who have lived in Foxborough for 40 years, said the town could use the additional tax revenue from the project, which Wynn has estimated would be $10 million to $15 million per year.

“There are a lot of things on the list for Foxborough, financially,’’ said Phyllis, who thinks more money should go to schools and fixing the roads.

The Watkins visit Las Vegas occasionally, Joseph said.

“We always stay in a Wynn property, and they treat you like gold,’’ he said.

Aulus Maloof, 52, owner of a refrigerant recovery business in Foxborough, said he liked what he saw on Wynn’s DVD.

He is “not a huge gambler,’’ but he said he makes one or two trips to Foxwoods casino in Connecticut each year.

Tim Poster, executive vice president of strategy and development for Wynn Resorts, said the Wynn executives have several meetings planned this week with Foxborough residents and business owners.

“Once people have the full facts, they’ll be able to make an informed decision’’ on the proposal, Poster said.

He said he gambles occasionally, mostly on sporting events.

“Once in a while I go have some fun at the casino,’’ he said.

Neither Wynn nor Kraft attended Wednesday’s gathering.

Opponents of the project insist that a casino would irrevocably change the character of the town and would lead to an increase in crime and problem gambling, charges that Wynn disputes.

Wynn outlined his strategy for Foxborough in an interview last week.

He will let the renderings and new details about the proposal sink in with voters, then conduct a scientific poll. By comparing the data with earlier polls, he will be able to determine if his design is winning over the undecided residents.

Wynn is one of the most prolific casino developers in Las Vegas, having built the Mirage, Treasure Island, and the Bellagio on the Las Vegas Strip.

His current flagship, the Wynn Las Vegas hotel and resort, opened in 2005. He added a sister hotel on the property, Encore, in 2008.

Mark Arsenault can be reached at marsenault@globe.com.

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