The ongoing competition for gambling licenses in Massachusetts turned Thursday on an unlikely locale: Macau, China.
During a meeting of the state gambling commission, representatives from international casino developers MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts, including chairman Steve Wynn, asked that the panel consider the laws and customs of the places they operate — in particular, Macau — when investigating their backgrounds and corporate ethics.
State investigators and consultants have for months been vetting the two casino giants, and other applicants for Bay State casino licenses, as part of intensive background checks to ensure the companies do not have relationships with criminals or people of questionable character.
Investigators have visited Macau — a rapidly expanding worldwide gambling destination where both companies operate casinos — as part of their investigations, which should be finished in coming weeks. Neither the commissioners nor the casino companies have yet seen the investigative reports on the background checks.
In the gambling industry, regulators will insist that casino operators maintain high ethical standards in every jurisdiction in which they operate, and sometimes will impose conditions or sanctions locally for a company’s behavior in another part of the country or the world.
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