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Wynn to spend on statewide campaign against slots parlor

Wynn Resorts via AP/file

Flush from a decisive win in Revere, Wynn Resorts is ratcheting up its no-to-slots campaign in anticipation of the statewide vote on Question 1 on Nov. 8. The battle pits two wealthy purveyors of gambling in a battle that, so far, has included each side accusing the other of acting in suspicious and secretive ways.

Both sides have a point.

Developer Eugene McCain has refused to reveal who is bankrolling the $1 million in expenses rung up so far in his team’s effort to get the Revere slots parlor proposal on the statewide ballot. McCain, who has recently worked in Thailand and Hawaii, has said his group could spend as much $10 million.

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Those slots parlor investors succeeded in getting the question before Revere voters on Oct. 18, over the objection of Mayor Brian M. Arrigo. They appeared confident of winning the nonbinding election, based on a poll that showed two-thirds of voters strongly supported a slots parlor.

And a ‘yes’ vote locally would have provided an important selling point for the slots parlor proponents in the run-up to the statewide vote.

But ultimately two-thirds of local voters gave it the thumbs down. And only after the election was it revealed that Wynn had spent $39,000 in a stealthy campaign against the slots parlor proposal that included hiring Arrigo’s former campaign manager.

Two days later, the McCain group fired a broadside in a press release that screamed in big headlines: “Mayor Arrigo colludes with Wynn to pay for attacks against citizens of Revere” and “Arrigo conspires with secret Wynn political committee.”

Wynn made no public filings showing its role before the local election and Arrigo said he was unaware of Wynn’s role until the Globe revealed it. Now, less than two weeks before the election, Wynn is freely acknowledging it will spend more money to thwart the slots parlor proposal.

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But it won’t say how much it plans to spend. And under the state’s political finance laws, Wynn won’t be required to disclose its spending until after the Nov. 8 balloting.

“I don’t think it would be smart to talk strategy now,” said Robert DeSalvio, president of Wynn Boston Harbor, who called McCain’s secrecy “troubling.”


Sean P. Murphy can be reached at smurphy@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @spmurphyboston.