Mohegan Sun joins Boston casino suit, criticizes Wynn award
BOSTON (AP) — Mohegan Sun is suing state gambling regulators over their decision to award the Boston-area casino license to a rival.
The Connecticut-based casino company announced Wednesday it has joined a state Superior Court lawsuit filed in October by suburban Revere and a labor union representing workers at the Suffolk Downs horse racing track in Revere.
The lawsuit seeks to vacate the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s decision to award the license to Wynn Resorts, which plans a $1.6 billion casino on the Everett waterfront across from Boston. Mohegan Sun had proposed a more than $1 billion resort at Suffolk Downs.
Mitchell Etess, CEO of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, said Wednesday that the company has never filed suit to challenge a casino license decision in any jurisdiction but felt compelled to in this instance because of the many issues around a “gravely flawed” decision.
“We were the most injured party,” he said. “Yeah, this was bad for Revere and for those workers losing their jobs. But we were really not treated fairly at the end of the day, and it was time for us to stand up for ourselves.”
Mohegan Sun, in its motion to join Revere’s lawsuit, says Wynn was given “preferential treatment.” It argues Wynn was allowed to resubmit significant portions of its application and provide substantially new information on the project’s site design and traffic impacts, while it was not given a similar opportunity.
The suit also alleges, among a litany of other complaints, that the commission violated the state’s Open Meeting Law and wrongly awarded the license to Wynn despite a land deal that “appears to enrich individuals affiliated with criminal enterprises and who are the target of federal and state indictments.”
Massachusetts Gaming Commission spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said the licensing process was “comprehensive, thoughtful and fair” and declined to address specific points in the lawsuit.
“Each gaming license was awarded based solely on merit and the decision-making process was executed with unprecedented transparency,” she said in a statement.
Wynn, which is based in Las Vegas, has declined to comment on the allegations lodged by Mohegan Sun.
The Boston-area license is one of three gambling licenses state regulators have awarded. MGM Resorts International is developing an $800 million resort casino in Springfield. Penn National is investing $225 million to expand a harness racing track in Plainville into a slots parlor.
A final resort casino license is designated for the southeastern portion of the state. The deadline for applications for that license is Jan. 30.