The Supreme Court will investigate a suspicious casino licensing deal between the Massachusetts gaming regulator and Wynn Resorts in connection with its Encore Boston Harbor property. [Image:Shutterstock.com]
Regulator’s past bites again
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) licensing deal nearly ten years ago is back to haunt it again.
New investigation into casino licensing of Wynn Resorts
On Monday, the Supreme Court ordered a new investigation into the granting of a casino license to Wynn Resorts for its Encore Boston Harbor casino, as well as its purchase of land for the property. The state’s Supreme Court has revived an old dispute over a $40 million deduction for Wynn Resorts, which it acquired for the purchase of Encore land in 2013.
The new investigation will give the group that previously owned the property, FBT Everett Realty, another chance to recoup the millions it lost after it first priced the land at $75 million in 2012, only for Wynn Resorts to buy it for $35 million a year thereafter.
The ruling held that a lower court judge made a mistake in dismissing the FBT’s lawsuit last year. In an opinion published Monday, Judge Scott Kafker considered MGC’s regulatory action in the Wynn Resorts case “extremely unusual.”
Links to Organized Crime
FBT Everett Realty has agreed to sell the land where Encore Boston Harbor now stands to Wynn for $75 million, on the condition that the latter obtain a Massachusetts casino license. Enter MGC who, according to FBT Everett, incorrectly “forced” Wynn to lower the purchase price of Encore’s land by threatening to “damage” Wynn’s efforts to obtain a casino license.
MGC could be sued for rejecting ‘casino usage bonus’
to me masslive.comAnd MGC can be sued for rejecting a “casino usage premium” on the sale of land in Everett. Ultimately, MGC and FBT lawyers said, if the $40 million judgment goes against MGC, Encore, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino will likely double the penalty.
FBT claims that MGC had reason to aggressively arm it to sell the property at a lower price. The regulator supposedly had concerns about the possibility that Charles Lightbody – a convicted criminal with links to organized crime – would profit from the sale of FBT.
The controversy continues
In the opinion of Judge Kafkereffectively forced MGC to “transfer $40 million from one private party to another in order to obtain a government license.”
MGC spokesman Tom Mills said Monday that the regulator will review the latest Supreme Court opinion. He said MGC would address the findings through “appropriate legal action”.