State gambling regulators to choose between Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts for casino license

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BOSTON — As the Massachusetts Gaming Commission begins deliberations on the lucrative Boston-area casino license, a report released Monday shows that the acting commission chairman likes the design and layout of Mohegan Sun's proposed casino in Revere better than Wynn's casino plan in Everett.

Commissioner James McHugh said Mohegan Sun's two-hotel design is, overall, "suggestive of the resort legacy" of nearby Revere Beach.

In contrast, he suggested Wynn's 27-story hotel tower didn't fit with the proposal's other elements, which are focused on reclaiming a heavily polluted portion of the Mystic River waterfront for public use. The proposal falls short of Wynn's reputation for innovative design, McHugh said.

The commission will deliberate the casino license in a series of meetings that will run at least through Friday.

Voters will decide in November whether to repeal the state's casino law, which would halt the licensing process before any casino plan can open in the state.

Each rival casino project has been accompanied by controversy.

Mohegan Sun faces allegations in a lawsuit that it may have violated state regulations by developing its Suffolk Downs proposal even as it unsuccessfully pursued voter approval for another casino plan in western Massachusetts.

Wynn, meanwhile, has faced questions about whether a convicted felon would benefit from the purchase of the land it hopes to develop, also in violation of state regulations.

The commission's investigative staff said Monday that none of the issues should disqualify the applicants.

Mohegan Sun proposes redeveloping about 40 acres at the Suffolk Downs horse racing track in Revere where the stables are located.

Plans call for $1.3 billion in spending. Of that, $527 million would be actual construction costs.

Wynn Resorts want to turn a roughly 30-acre former chemical plant site along the Mystic River in Everett into the sort of five-star luxury resort that has become the Las Vegas-based company's hallmark.

The casino plan calls for $1.6 billion in spending. About $1 billion of that would be construction costs.

Mohegan Sun's two lodging options — a three-star boutique hotel and a four-star casino hotel — would offer up to 550 rooms total. The casino floor would house 4,200 slot machines and 120 table games.

The proposal also calls for 102,000 square feet of retail space, 92,000 square feet of food and beverage options, and 44,800 square feet of meeting and convention space.

Wynn's proposal calls for a 365-foot glasslike hotel tower offering about 500 rooms. The casino floor would house 3,242 slot machines and 168 table games.

The proposal also calls for 77,250 square feet of retail space, 64,593 square feet of food and beverage options, 32,942 square feet of meeting and convention space, and a 30,392-square-foot nightclub.

The gambling commission is charged with licensing up to three Las Vegas-style casinos and one slot parlor.

It has already given the slot parlor license to Penn National Gaming for its $225 million expansion of the harness racing track in Plainville, a project that is underway.

The commission also granted a resort casino license to MGM Resorts International for its $800 million project in downtown Springfield, pending the outcome of the election.

During this week's deliberations, the gambling commission will present other findings from its monthslong evaluation of the Wynn and Mohegan Sun projects.

On Monday afternoon, the commission will look at each project's finances. On Tuesday, it will review each project's economic development potential, their compensation agreements with area cities and towns, and traffic effects on the Boston region.

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