After morning presentations by both Mohegan Sun and Wynn, the Commissioners continued their final deliberations of the two applicants for the sole Boston-area casino license, and voted today 3-1 to award the license to Wynn MA LLC.
Prior to the vote, the Commissioners were asked to state their current preference for what was described as two strong proposals. Commissioner Cameron offered her thoughts first and concluded a “slight preference” for Wynn, specifically citing higher salaries and marketing strategy. Commissioner Stebbins agreed, but with stronger language, stating that Wynn had a “clear and distinctive advantage,” citing their finances and the number of jobs. He summarized that his choice was driven by “know[ing] it can be paid for and you can get to it.” Commissioner Zuniga followed, also expressing a preference for Wynn, recognizing that it could “fair better in a competitive market” and “maintain a market share.”
Commissioner McHugh was the last to go and the only to favor Mohegan Sun. He did cite the strength of both proposals and gave Wynn the advantage for several factors, including the potential yield to the economy and the community, but questioned the likelihood of Wynn’s ability to accomplish that yield given the complicated permitting process that lies ahead. His preference for Mohegan Sun was based on his belief that Mohegan Sun would be in a better position to “get off the ground and move smoothly through the process.”
The Commission then discussed the risk factors, both short and long term, highlighted by Commissioner McHugh. Commissioner McHugh then asked the others again about the strength of their preference. Commissioner Cameron reiterated hers was only a slight preference, specifically because of the concerns highlighted by Commissioner McHugh, but she did think Wynn still had the advantage, particularly in light of the potential rewards for the risks. Commissioners Zuniga and Stebbins both reiterated that their preference for Wynn was strong, with Commissioner Zuniga commenting that the risks have been thoroughly evaluated. The Commission then voted 3-1 to award the license to Wynn, subject to some additional conditions that still exist after the morning’s presentations. Wynn is to appear Wednesday to agree to the conditions imposed on the license and formally accept in writing.