Wynn Resorts, Boston mayor kiss & make up

wynn-boston-casino-dealCasino operator Wynn Resorts has finally reached a deal with the city of Boston over Wynn’s planned $1.7b casino in Everett, Massachusetts.

Late Wednesday, the Boston Globe reported that Wynn and Boston mayor Martin Walsh had reached a deal that will see Wynn compensate the city for traffic and other expected problems associated with the casino to the north of Boston. In exchange, Walsh has agreed to stop filing lawsuits against the company.

In awarding Wynn its license in 2014, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission instructed Wynn to pay Boston $1m upfront plus $1.6m per year over a 15-year period to mitigate the casino-related problems. Wynn also agreed to pay $25m into a fund intended to address traffic bottlenecks in Sullivan Square.

The new deal adds an extra $400k to the annual payment, bringing the total added commitment over the life of the deal to $6m. Wynn has also agreed to pay $750k to help defray the estimated $1.9m legal tab the city ran up via its lengthy efforts to become a fly in Wynn’s ointment.

In exchange, Wynn got the city to scrap a clause of the original deal that could have slapped a $20m surcharge on Wynn if the traffic situation breached certain benchmarks. A new clause calls for Wynn to address excess traffic through less financially punitive methods, such as rejigging traffic signals.

Walsh had openly favored a rival bid for the lone Boston-area casino license by Mohegan Sun, who had promised the city $30m upfront and $18m per year. Walsh was doubly disappointed when Wynn’s compensation offer came in well below the Mohegan bundle but was left with few options after a state judge dismissed the city’s most recent lawsuit against Wynn in December.

Wynn hopes to open its new venue by late 2018. MGM Resorts hopes to open its $950m MGM Springfield that same year while the MGC is still mulling who will receive the state’s third and final casino license. Penn National Gamings’ Plainridge Park slots hall opened last summer but has so far performed below expectations.