Steve Wynn is still waiting for his welcome mat in Massachusetts.
The chief executive of Wynn Resorts complained to investors and analysts again on Wednesday about the resistance his efforts to bring a resort-style casino to Massachusetts have faced. This was just the latest time Wynn has used these calls to voice his displeasure, in often colorful commentary, about the roadblocks and regulators he sees in the Bay State.
This time around, Wynn spoke largely in generalities on the Nevada company’s latest earnings call when referring to his $1.7 billion project in Everett. He didn’t specifically mention the lawsuits filed by neighboring cities, the issues he faces with Boston’s Public Improvement Commission over road upgrades in Charlestown, or Attorney General Maura Healey’s call for a more regional approach to traffic solutions before the casino gets built.
But if you were listening in to the call and you’ve been following his company’s Everett project, you probably had a feeling he was referring to all three.
“We’re hopeful that in Massachusetts at some point in the near future, we’ll be treated with a little softer hand considering that we’re the largest single private investment in the history of the state, and that we’re bringing to that town non-casino attractions that have never been around,” Wynn said on the call.
He told analysts that he’s plowing ahead with the Everett project, despite the political resistance. He said Boston officials are criticizing his company simply because he’s building the casino over the city line, in Everett, which means much less money for Boston: “The casinos seem to be such a prize for whatever local community to take advantage of its presence in that community.”
Wynn told a brief anecdote about how he once tried to build the casino in Boston, next to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, but he was chased away. (Mayor Thomas Menino was in charge at the time, and didn’t want a casino on the South Boston waterfront.) So Wynn was invited to Everett instead, to build on a former Monsanto chemical plant site overlooking the Mystic River.
He noted that the majority of voters in the state showed they supported casino gambling in a referendum last fall.
“So ... the welcome mat seemed to be out,” Wynn said. “We just haven’t found the welcome mat yet, but I’m the eternal optimist, and ... it’ll feel good when they stop hitting us.”Jon Chesto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.