‘Everett Hold ‘Em’: Wynn Resorts Not Selling Casino Project

It seems all the rumors, the erroneous local newspaper reports and the hand-wringing can end. Wynn Resorts is not selling the Everett casino project—not to MGM, not to Caesar’s and not to Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands. A published report says the company did meet with the first two companies but has decided not to sell. (Adelson was never in the picture).

It would make all the sense in the world for Wynn to discuss a sale. It was and is facing a possible stripping of its casino license by the state gaming commission for failing to be “suitable” to continue to hold it. It all stems from founder Steve Wynn’s alleged predatory sexual behavior that resulted in a $7.5 million settlement with a former manicurist. The company hid that payment from the commission when it went through its original suitability review process.

Wynn officials caught a break when the commission determined that the company had sufficiently separated itself from its founder. Steve Wynn was taken off the license when he resigned from the company, sold his remaining shares and moved out of the company villa in Las Vegas. The Everett project was renamed, “Encore Boston Harbor.” For the record, Mr. Wynn denies any wrong doing.

The biggest hurdle for the company remains. That’s when the gaming commission finishes its investigation and determines who knew what, when—particularly the board of directors. Where they aware of Mr. Wynn’s misconduct? That investigation is supposed to be wrapped up by the summer.

There’s been quite a few rumors about the Wynn project’s fate, many coming from within the city itself, and several by a local newspaper. The Leader-Herald has published a nonstop flow of “news” stories and commentary (it’s very hard to determine which is which). The paper, which is virulently anti-Mayor Carlo DeMaria and therefore anti-Wynn casino, has been saying for months that Adelson was poised to buy the Everett project. The paper tried to give its own story legitimacy by saying Adelson was not denying what the paper alleged. The Leader-Herald also called state Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby, “a failure in life.” Woodward & Bernstein it is not.

In any event, the Everett casino project—Encore Boston Harbor—is staying in Wynn Resorts’ hands. Wynn official John Tocco made a presentation to the city council Monday night and emphasized everything is on track.