Metro

Gaming commission chairman says Everett casino interest good for competition

Stephen Crosby, chairman of the State Gaming Commission, said developer Steve Wynn’s ­interest in building a casino in Everett could stir competition for the one casino license available in Eastern Massachusetts.

“We’ve been encouraging competition across the state,” Crosby said in a brief interview Wednesday, following his ­address to the North Shore Chamber of Commerce in ­Danvers. “I think the public will be much better served if there is more than one proposal.”

He noted that six casino companies are interested in a single license available for Western Massachusetts. But until Wynn came along, a ­license available for Greater Boston had drawn interest only from a proposal at Suffolk Downs in East Boston.

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Crosby said he had not ­spoken with Wynn, a Las Vegas casino developer. But he did speak with officials in Everett. “We gave them some advice about what the law provides for local communities, their interests,” he said.

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Wynn is considering the former site of a Monsanto chemical plant on the Mystic River. His interest comes after a $1 billion casino proposed for ­Foxborough failed to garner support of selectmen.

Wynn, who toured the ­Everett site Wednesday, has not said if he will submit an application to the state’s five-
member gambling commission. But the Globe reported that he also said he would not go forward with a casino unless the host community supported it.

In his speech to the chamber, Crosby said the state’s gambling law requires a local referendum to be held before a ­casino can be licensed.

“There will not be a casino in any community that does not want a casino,” Crosby told about 500 business and civic leaders who attended the meeting at Danversport Yacht Club. “There has to be a referendum on an agreement with a casino operator before it gets to us.”

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The gambling commission is charged with licensing three ­casinos, each of which would be located in a region of the state: Western, Eastern, and Southeastern Massachusetts. Each casino project would create an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 construction jobs and the same number of permanent jobs, Crosby said.

The law requires a developer to sign agreements with cities and towns surrounding the community hosting a casino, Crosby said. “They don’t get a license ­until they have a signed agreement with every surrounding community that would be ­impacted,” he said.

Kathy McCabe can be reached
at kmccabe@globe.com.
Follow her on Twitter
@GlobeKMcCabe.