Everett Casino Clears Hurdle, Somerville to Study Impacts

Somerville won't take "hush money" from casino developers in Everett, according to Somerville's mayor.

Credit: Elizabeth Janney
Credit: Elizabeth Janney
Wynn Resorts is suitable to open a casino in Everett, according to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission's investigative bureau.

That's what media outlets, including the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, WBUR and Bloomberg Business Week, reported Monday. 

The commission's investigative bureau spent $1.5 million investigating Wynn Resorts, according to Bloomberg Business Week. The commission has been investigating casino groups that are seeking licenses in Massachusetts to make sure they run their businesses in a legal manner and don't have connections to organized crime.

Having heard the investigative bureau's report, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission won't officially decide on Wynn Resorts' suitability until, at the earliest, Monday night, according to WBUR.

Somerville to spend $150K studying impacts

Meanwhile, the city of Somerville will spend $150,000 studying the local impacts of the Everett casino proposal.

On Dec. 12, the Somerville Board of Aldermen approved the expenditure for "impact assessment studies" to help determine how a casino in Everett would affect economic development, transportation, the environment and the overall welfare of Somerville.

According to the state's 2011 gaming law, casino developers are supposed to help surrounding communities study the impacts of proposed casinos, and surrounding communities receive mitigation benefits to offset the local impact of having a casino nearby.

However, Wynn Resorts has denied Somerville the resources it needs to conduct that study, Michael Glavin, the city's director of strategic planning and community development, told the Board of Aldermen.

Alderman At-Large William White, president of the Board of Aldermen, said Wynn Resorts has not designated Somerville as a "surrounding community," and therefore the city needs to petition the Gaming Commission to achieve that status.

Curtatone: Somerville won't take "hush money"

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone put it differently. "What Wynn's group is saying," he said, "is we'll recognize you as a surrounding community if you're willing to take your hush money and go away ... and we're not willing to do that."

He said having a casino in Everett would have real impacts to the quality of life and local economy in Somerville.

"Our border—Somerville to Everett—extends halfway out to the Mystic River," he said. "You don't need a tape measure to figure out where Somerville stands."

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