There is never a dull moment when it comes to the battle over gambling dollars in Massachusetts. The latest developments have Wynn Resorts (dba, Encore Boston Harbor) in Everett facing increasing legal pressure from Mohegan Sun—the Indian tribe with a casino in Eastern Connecticut—and MGM Springfield now facing real chances of competition to the south, also in Connecticut.
The Mohegan action in the courts is nothing new. Ever since losing out to Wynn Resorts in the battle for the sole Eastern Mass. casino license, they’ve been suing, seeking to get the decision by the state gaming commission thrown out. At it’s base, the tribe is claiming the gaming commission failed to properly investigate Wynn and its now then-CEO, Steve Wynn, including rumors of rampant sexual harassment.
However, Mohegan’s actions have picked up speed and attention as the commission itself is now investigating the situation to determine whether Wynn Resorts is still “suitable” to hold the license. The commission is looking into who know what, when, particularly the board of directors.
“The Gaming Commission’s failure to uncover the allegations of Steve Wynn’s reprehensible conduct and the lack of corporate controls in its initial investigation of Wynn Resorts is another example of the bias and flaws in the Commission’s approach to the Region A licensing decision,” Kenneth Leonetti, an attorney for Mohegan Sun, said in a statement.
The Mohegans are also a party to a development in Western Mass. where MGM resorts is close to opening its $960 million development. Mohegan is in a joint venture with the other Indian tribe that has a casino in Eastern Connecticut, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation (Foxwoods), to open a satellite casino in East Windsor, Connecticut. The stated intent of the new project is to stem the tide of gambling dollars and jobs flowing north to MGM Springfield. East Windsor in the I-91 corridor, minutes south of Springfield.
The Federal Department of the Interior gave its approval to a notice Friday that should satisfy concerns in Connecticut. At issue is whether the Mohegan’s revenue-sharing agreement with the state won’t be jeopardized if they partner with the Mashantucket Pequots.