Wynn says he can’t find MA welcome mat

Looked at possible casino site near convention center

STEVE WYNN on Wednesday brought up his company’s ongoing struggles with the city of Boston during a conference call with financial analysts and revealed that when he was originally searching for a casino site in the area he inquired about purchasing land next to the convention center.

Wynn’s comments came at the end of a conference call with financial analysts after the release of the Las Vegas company’s second quarter financial results. The analyst questions focused entirely on the company’s operations in Macau and Las Vegas. As Wynn was about to end the call, he on his own began talking about the sometimes hostile reception the company has received in Massachusetts.

“Boston has been rather critical of us because we weren’t in Boston, but we are in Everett,” he said. “We once tried to go to Boston, near the convention center, when all this started.” He said the company was told the land next to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center was not available, so the search for a casino site continued and ended up in Everett, on what he described as a “chemical dump.”

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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh insists part of the Everett casino site is in Boston and Charlestown residents should be given the opportunity to vote on whether they want it. Walsh is suing the Massachusetts Gaming Commission over its award of a casino license to Wynn and the mayor is also refusing to work with Wynn and state officials to address traffic issues at Sullivan Square. The fight between Boston and Wynn and the Gaming Commission has become increasingly nasty. The US Attorney’s office recently referred to the city of Boston’s civil lawsuit against the Gaming Commission as “vicious.”

Wynn didn’t address the specifics of his company’s dispute with Boston, but instead expressed amazement at how plans to invest $1.7 billion replacing a former Monsanto chemical facility with a high-end hotel and casino are causing so much controversy. He briefly recounted the company’s search for a casino site in Massachusetts and the votes in support of the project in Everett and in support of casino gambling in general in a statewide referendum last year.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

“The tables seemed to be set. The welcome mat seemed to be out. We just haven’t found the welcome mat yet,” he said. “But I’m an eternal optimist. It’ll feel good when they stop hitting us.”

Wynn reported revenues of $1.04 billion for the three months ending June 30, compared to revenues of $1.41 billion in the same period last year. Revenue was off 35.8 percent in Macau and 3.2 percent in Las Vegas. The company’s net income was $56.5 million for the three-month period, compared to $203.9 million in the second quarter last year.