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Mass. gaming chief on slots, Wynn and the southeast casino license

Stephen Crosby, Mass. Gaming Commision Chairman.Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby says he expects the state’s first casino gaming facility to open this summer.

Appearing on WCVB’s On The Record Sunday morning, Crosby said the slots parlor in Plainville will likely be open either in late June or early July.

Two other larger casinos licensed in the state – MGM’s Springfield proposal and Wynn Resorts plans for Everett – will likely be open to the public in mid-to-late 2017.

Crosby said traffic improvements in Charlestown’s Sullivan Square are the biggest hurdle facing the Wynn Resorts’ plan to turn a polluted former industrial site along the Mystic River waterfront in Everett into a casino. He said company owner Steve Wynn “will pay whatever it takes, literally whatever it takes, to fix the traffic situation.”

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Last month, it was revealed the Internal Revenue Service had requested information about Wynn Resorts’ safeguards against money laundering. Wynn has denied it is under investigation. Crosby said federal authorities have not advised the commission of any ongoing probe regarding money-laundering at Wynn Resorts.

“We have always said integrity is job one,” said Crosby. “We have an investigations bureau who will look into… these issues to see what they are. When we know the facts, which we don’t yet, we will address them.”

He said Wynn was not legally bound to notify them of the federal probe.

“We are in conversations and we’ve expressed our concerns we do want to be kept up to date on this,” he said.

Crosby acknowledged the challenges casino applicants face in being licensed. The market in the Southeast of the state – with the slots parlor in Plainville and the Twin Rivers Casino nearby in Rhode Island – is competitive, he said. The deadline for applicants is Feb. 1.

Crosby disagreed with the suggestion that the commission was “fraught” with controversy. Crosby recused himself from the vote for the eastern Massachusetts casino license because he once had a business partnership with a co-owner of the plot of land where Wynn wants to put a casino.

Crosby said that even though the state’s Ethics Commission cleared him of any conflict of interest, he recused himself to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

“There has been some controversy, that goes with the territory, but I wouldn’t have said fraught with controversy,” said Crosby.

 
 
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