No surprise: Wynn isn’t happy about a Revere slots parlor
Wynn Resorts declared its opposition Wednesday to an international developer’s campaign to open a slots parlor in Revere, saying it would run counter to the 2011 casino law that called for a single slots parlor in Massachusetts.
“It’s not fair to Wynn Resorts,” said Robert DeSalvio, a top executive for the company, which is building a $2.1 billion casino along the Mystic River in Everett. “We came into Massachusetts understanding there would be three casinos and one slots parlor under state law, not three casinos and two slots parlors.” A slots parlor operates in Plainville. “Someone shouldn’t come in now and circumvent the law,” he added.
DeSalvio declined to say whether Wynn Resorts planned to finance opposition to a statewide ballot question that would authorize the slots parlor, known as Question 1.
“Right now we are monitoring it,” he said.
The proposed site for the Revere slots parlor is just three miles from the Everett casino, which is scheduled to open in 2019. Wynn Resorts has already spent $300 million on the project, DeSalvio said.
Developer Eugene McCain has launched an aggressive effort to win a statewide vote in November on the slots parlor, and supporters have collected enough signatures for a local referendum, scheduled for Oct. 18.
A spokesman for supporters of the slots parlor declined to comment.
Revere residents have long supported the idea of a casino in their city, and a local vote in favor of the slots parlor plan could bring momentum to the statewide effort.
But Revere Mayor Brian M. Arrigo, an unwavering opponent of the proposal, has tried to block a local election, at least until voters have had their say in November. If the ballot measure is defeated, the city would be spared the expense, estimated at $50,000, of a local election, Arrigo has said.
Last month, a judge denied Arrigo’s request to postpone the election, pointing out that slots parlor supporters met all the legal requirements for an election by collecting the signatures of 4,800 voters.
But Arrigo has decided to continue the city’s legal fight, said Joe Gravellese, aide to the mayor.
“We’re trying to get in front of a judge as soon as possible to ask for a stay,” Gravellese said. “We think this would place too much of a burden on our election commission.”
Arrigo opposes the slots parlor because he wants to attract different development to the site.
One of the architects of the casino law, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, has come out in opposition to the slots parlor, which would be in his district.
“I stand in opposition to Question 1,” DeLeo said. “When we crafted the law, my main focus was on boosting the economy and creating jobs. Key to that effort was creating an independent Gaming Commission which conducts thorough market analyses and then makes informed decisions. This slapdash proposal would upset the deliberate and delicate balance we worked so hard to create.”
DeSalvio said the ballot question is premature.
“The casinos are not even up and running yet,” he said. “Let’s let them get built before doing anything.”