In what is a tepid nod to Wynn Resorts, 48 percent of likely midterm voters in Massachusetts surveyed in a new poll (questions #33 to #37) say the company should be allowed to continue to build and then operate the Encore Boston Harbor resort casino now under construction in Everett. Almost 38 percent said Wynn should not remain as owner and operator while 16 percent were undecided or refused to answer.
Interestingly, among women, just 36 percent said Wynn Resorts should be allowed to stay on the project, while 48 percent say the project should be pulled from the company and about 16 percent said they are undecided or would not answer that question.
The future of Wynn’s massive $2.5 billion project is entering a critical stage as the Massachusetts Gaming Commission nears the completion of an investigation to determine whether the Wynn company remain “suitable” to hold a state casino license.
2018 has been a tough year so far for the Wynn company as it pertains to the Everett project. In January, a stunning report in the Wall Street Journal detailed decades of alleged sexual misconduct on the part of company founder Steve Wynn. It also revealed the existence of a $7.5 million settlement to a former manicurist from Steve Wynn, a deal that was undisclosed by the company in the gaming commission original review of suitability in 2014.
Wynn Resorts then went on a campaign of rehabilitation for the Everett project, distancing itself from Steve Wynn sufficiently enough to have him removed as a party to the license. He sold his stock and moved out of the company villa in Las Vegas. Just after that, Wynn Resorts changed the name of the project to “Encore Boston Harbor,” another of the company’s brands.
The gaming commission’s determination of whether Wynn Resorts remains suitable likely hinges on who at Wynn knew what, when—especially the board of directors. Were they aware of the sexual abuse allegations? Did they know about the $7.5 million settlement that was hidden from the gaming commission?
Just as importantly is whether new Wynn CEO Matt Maddox knew about the settlement. He claims he did not.
Speculation about the Everett project has sparked some wild and unsubstantiated rumors, many reported by the city’s Leader-Herald newspaper. The paper, for a period of a couple of months, reported weekly that the Wynn project was going to be sold. One particularly unsubstantiated scenario pushed out by the paper, had the resort casino being sold to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. The paper then used a claim that Adelson wasn’t denying the report as some how supporting its veracity (as if Adelson or his people would even know what the Everett Leader-Herald was).
The Suffolk University Poll was conducted from June 8 to 12. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percent.