Gambling regulators approve MGM and Wynn licenses after voters reject repealing casino law

Industries Associated Press

State gambling regulators on Thursday unanimously voted to finalize casino licenses for MGM for its $800 million Springfield casino and for Wynn for its $1.6 billion Everett resort.

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The gambling giants had been granted operating licenses pending the outcome of the election that included a ballot question to repeal the state's casino law. Voters this week decided to keep the casino law in place.

Wynn Resorts project manager Robert DeSalvio said the company already wired the state the $85 million licensing fee due upon the license award.

MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis said the payment from his company would come shortly.

The commission also approved one-day thoroughbred horse racing licenses for operations at Suffolk Downs in Boston and the Brockton Fairgrounds.

Residents voted by a 20 percentage point margin on Tuesday to keep the 2011 law that authorized up to three regional casinos and one slots parlor in Massachusetts.

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MGM won the state's western region casino license for a resort in Springfield over the summer. Wynn won the Boston-area license in the fall for its plan for the Everett waterfront.

Penn National Gaming already has paid a $15 million slots parlor licensing fee for its $225 million expansion of the Plainridge harness racing track in Plainville. The company is on track to open the first gambling hall under the 2011 law.

MGM and Wynn, meanwhile, are ramping up efforts to break ground on their resort casino developments. Each hopes to open in 2017. And two federally recognized American Indian tribes — the Mashpee Wampanoags of Cape Cod and the Aquinnah Wampanoags of Martha's Vineyard — are continuing to pursue casino projects in the southern region.