You may think that resort-style casinos bring in a lot of cash (and they do!), but the planned Wynn Resorts in Everett, Massachusetts, is proving that, sometimes, you’ve got to spend money to make money. In a Thursday report, Wynn officials highlighted the projected expenses surrounding its proposed casino over the term of its 15-year lease, and the results were staggering. In total, the casino developer expects to dish out approximately $850 million worth of taxes and improvements for the surrounding area.
The new Wynn Resorts, which will open on the site of a polluted former chemical plant along the Mystic River, will begin its payments immediately, with 25 percent of gross gaming revenue being earmarked for a daily tax to the state. Additionally, the company expects to pay approximately $210 million in community mitigation, $76 million for road and infrastructure improvements and $206 million on transportation enhancements – including a shuttle, water transport and an Orange Line subsidy.
Currently, the Massachusetts Wynn remains entangled in the permitting process, with an omnibus environmental permit being required to resolve a disagreement about land the company purchased from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Despite winning the Greater Boston casino license last September, the property remains in escrow at this time as a result of ongoing environmental issues.
Included in Wynn’s $850 million budget is a plan to fund the operation of additional Orange Line cars, as well as the construction of a walking and bicycle bridge over the Mystic River, in order to increase accessibility to the resort. In this area, the Everett casino has faced strong opposition for months, including litigation from the Mayor of Boston regarding potential negative impacts on traffic resulting from the project. To address these issues, Wynn has agreed to reconfigure the nearby Sullivan Square bus station to improve the flow of buses and coordinate surrounding traffic signals.
Moving forward, Wynn will look to continue making progress toward the construction of its newest resort. Following the submittal of more than 10,000 pages and responses to approximately 1,500 comments, the company is closing in on completion of the necessary environmental preparations ahead of the transfer of the property. In combination with the higher rates of taxation, expensive licensing fees and required disclosures and mitigation payments, these holdouts demonstrate the considerable hurdles associated with the construction and operation of a casino in Massachusetts.
For followers of the state’s gambling industry, this delay is par for the course. Earlier this week, the Gaming Commission approved an adjustment to the construction timeline for the MGM Springfield, which was originally scheduled to open in September 2017. However, delays associated with ongoing highway construction pushed back the opening by about a year, with the new opening date scheduled on September 5, 2018, or 30 days after the scheduled completion of the nearby road construction project.
Despite the slowdowns and higher fees, casino operators are excited to participate in the young and rapidly expanding casino industry in Massachusetts. As Wynn demonstrated earlier this week, developers are putting their money where their mouth is for a piece of the potentially lucrative pie.