scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Steve Wynn may bid for casino in Everett

Would challenge Suffolk Downs

Steve Wynn, left, and Robert Kraft talked to reporters about their casino plan for Foxborough on Dec. 5, 2011.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe files/Globe Staff

Las Vegas casino developer Steve Wynn, who failed to persuade Foxborough to accept a lavish $1 billion gambling resort, is investigating land on the Mystic River for a possible casino bid in Everett, which could create a clash among gambling titans for the state's most lucrative casino license.

Wynn, the creator of iconic hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, such as Bellagio, Mirage, and the Wynn and Encore resorts, is expected in Everett this week to personally view the site, Mayor Carlo DeMaria's office confirmed to the Globe on Monday.

"We're looking forward to having a forthright discussion with Mr. Wynn about his vision for that site," said Dave Rodrigues, DeMaria's acting chief of staff, in an interview.


The mayor's office would not say when Wynn might visit, but other sources said the billionaire is due in Everett on Wednesday.

A top Wynn Resorts executive and one of Wynn's most trusted advisers, Kim Sinatra, viewed the Everett land, known as the former Monsanto Chemical site, within the past few weeks.

Wynn's spokesman in Las Vegas declined to comment on Monday.

Wynn's return to the Massachusetts market would create a competition for the sole Greater Boston casino license between two of the biggest names in casino gambling. Suffolk Downs, in partnership with casino giant Caesars Entertainment, has applied for casino development rights.

The Suffolk Downs project, in East Boston and Revere, is the only resort casino proposal for Greater Boston; the state gambling commission has openly fretted about the lack of competition in the region.

The state's casino legislation was designed to award development rights through a competition, in order to encourage developers to try to outdo each other with bigger investments and more creative plans. The gambling commission has actively encouraged developers to consider submitting a bid in Greater Boston.


Wynn, a well-known collector of priceless Picasso paintings and the works of other masters, pushed hard in early 2012 to win support for a gambling resort and convention center in Foxborough, on land across from Gillette Stadium he intended to lease from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

Wynn and Kraft appeared together to pitch the project, but local opposition was fierce, and a divided Foxborough Board of Selectmen refused to negotiate an agreement with Wynn for the town to host a gambling resort. State law requires such an agreement before any casino proposal can compete for a license.

The casino magnate attempted to go around Foxborough officials and build support for the project among voters. He released a drawing for the casino in March, taking inspiration from the design of a luxury house he built in Sun Valley, Idaho. The building looked like an elaborate ski lodge rendered at huge scale.

The town election in May became a referendum on Wynn's casino plan. The vote strengthened the anticasino tilt of the Board of Selectmen, and Wynn withdrew the project.

Local officials, especially mayors and executive boards, have tremendous power to block casino projects under the state's 2011 casino law, which apparently would not be the case in Everett, where DeMaria is looking forward to seeing a proposal. Another casino company, Hard Rock International, has also discussed the riverfront site with the mayor, DeMaria told the Boston Herald in early November.

Under the casino law, the state gambling commission can issue up to three licenses for resort-style casinos, no more than one in each of three regions of the state. The panel also controls one slot parlor license, which can be built in any region. Competition has been robust in Western Massachusetts, with three casino resort proposals for Springfield, one for Palmer, and a new prospect in Holyoke. Commercial casino development is on hold in the southeast to allow the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe time to make progress on a tribal casino, to be approved under federal law.


A Suffolk Downs spokesman declined to comment Monday on Wynn's new advance.

Mark Arsenault can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @bostonglobemark