Steve Wynn showing why Suffolk Downs needs to pay very serious attention to him
What began with casino billionaire savant Steven Wynn as a self-serving foray into casino politics and bartering in Massachusetts some months back is now morphing into a legitimate effort to locate in Everett.
Forget about the land Wynn has leased being contaminated. Doesn't mean a thing to the owner of the land or to Wynn who could have the mess mitigated and cleaned to federal specifications in a matter of 6 months when push comes to shove if he gets a shot at housing a casino there.
The raw essence of Wynn's new and powerful position in Everett is to put tremendous pressure on the Suffolk Downs people who have considered themselves front runners for the casino for the past 6 years.
From the beginning of his entrance into the casino licensing sweepstakes, Wynn's foray into Everett has been pooh-poohed by Suffolk Downs management and ownership.
However, as the drama unfolds, Wynn's position in Everett has taken on a brand new look and feel not only to the Suffolk Downs people but also to officials watching the complex licensing process unfold.
Wynn has been in communication with Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria constantly. He has also been communicating through his chief managers with the owners of the land he is leasing.
That land, thought to be a boondoggle by Suffolk's people, positions Wynn within sight of Boston. His announcement yesterday to the people of Everett that he will be building a magnificent skyscraper that will redefine the skyline on the Everett/Boston side of the Mystic River was hardly a surprise.
The grander Wynn makes his proposal, the better it is for his licensing effort.
The Gaming Commission is the entire play in this process. They make the vote. They take the vote seriously. It is the commission and the commission alone who will vote yes for Wynn or for Suffolk Downs. There is no reaching the individual members of the commission by lobbyists or politicians. The commission is something unto itself. Money can't buy their votes. Pressure can't move them – and hasn't since the beginning of this sometimes slow and absurd approval process.
Wynn is planning one of his boldest architectural masterpieces to stand as a signature on the waterfront staring at Boston. This will impress the commission. It has to. He is the big guy in all of this – the richest, the stateliest, the grandest domo of them all in the casino world.
By comparison, Suffolk Downs proposal remains what it has always been, a vast improvement of what exists today at the track on a largely underutilized 150-acre site, which is frankly ideal for a casino.
Suffolk's recent effort to make even greener their site by planting the entranceway was a bold and expensive new step caused by Wynn's salient in Everett.
Suffolk Downs would do well to make their proposal magnificent in every measure so as not to be outdistanced by Wynn and his effort to do the same.
Bottom line, everyone who has applied needs to appeal to the commission more than to anyone else.
It is the commission that delivers the final vote, the final OK for a casino in Revere/East Boston or Everett. And maybe the commission will do so for the folks in Milford but frankly that is not much of a possibility.
Wynn is as serious as a heart attack in Everett.
Suffolk Downs needs to answer that and sooner rather than later.
With this commission whatever is bolder is going to be better and in the end, this is what is going to sway the commission's vote.