The fact that casinos are controversial is nothing new, just ask Ben Affleck, whose prowess at 21 got him banned from playing blackjack at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas, as well as others in the city last April for counting cards. Interestingly, counting cards is not illegal yet casinos will guard their hordes of treasure like Smog.
Once isolated in the great Nevada desert and on the boardwalk of Atlantic City, casinos are gaining ground across the states and have taken up root in the bible belt. Although it isn’t going as well for some as it is for others. Steve Wynn recently noted upon winning the bid for the Greater Boston casino license that he was sympathetic to his opponent, Mohegan Sun of Connecticut, and recognized that his win would strike a huge financial blow to his competition.
Wynn’s 37 acre site on the Mystic river is slated to include a casino and towering hotel, along with 140,000 sq ft of retail shopping, no less than eight restaurants, and a five star luxury spa. His plan to build the monumental $1.6 billion high-rise casino resort in Everette does not sit well with everyone.
Mohegan Sun stated the gaming commission was favoring Wynn and that the entire process was unfair. They believed the committee had allowed Wynn to revise their proposal more than they allowed the Sun. They are such sore losers that they have asked the commission to reconsider. The committee reaffirmed that Wynn has won and there are no apparent legal actions that Sun can take.
Mohegan Sun isn’t the only one that feels their offer was better. One city official voiced his disappointment regarding the decision. Jay Ash, city Manager of Chelsea, pointed out that Wynn offered the city $650,000 per year as opposed to a much larger offer by Mohegan Sun of $2.5 million.
In an ongoing debate concerning the impact the project will make on traffic in and around the area, officials weighed in. It is estimated that the an additional 25,000 drivers will be making trips to the casino on a daily basis. The cities of Sommerville and Winthrop felt that their traffic would be severely impacted.
Somerville’s director of transportation and infrastructure, Hayes Morrison, expressed concerns that drivers will be traveling through an area already overburdened by traffic. She believes this would require major traffic changes. Wynn will pay $650,000 yearly to help the city upgrade six intersections. Winthrop’s traffic will also be affected. Jim McKenna, Town Manager hopes the commission will address the traffic concerns for them as well.
Medford Mayor, Michael J. McGlynn, welcomed the casino and the $1.5 million Wynn has already committed to help redesign their traffic flow, along with an additional $1 million yearly after that. Malden’s Mayor, Gary Christenson, was impressed by the goodwill the corporation showed by their community involvement. Wynn sponsored their summer music series, held a toy drive for homeless families and participated in the Latino Festival.