Like a major poker tournament, the Boston casino licensing had one big lucky winner and several other bidders who were not so lucky. The big winner of one of the largest deals in the Massachusetts gaming industry, Steve Wynn acted with confidence and won with seeming effortlessness.
Events leading to the win
Wynn teamed up with some of the best investors the industry—Steve Tocco, CEO of Ml Strategies, and former Governor Bill Weld—to win the remarkable bid. Plus, Wynn proved that he didn’t need any local mayor’s support to achieve what he did.
The opposing teams of Suffolk Downs and Mohegan Sun, though they consisted of big names in the industry like Tom Reilly (ex attorney general) and Charlie Flahert (former House Speaker), were not strong enough to successfully compete against Wynn’s team.
Tom Menino, the former mayor, had a very different reaction to the issue. Last fall, when Suffolk Downs decided to dump its casino operator Crowns from its venture, Menino withdrew support to a project that he was once excited about. It was as if the mayor became aware that he didn’t stand a chance, and quit before it was too late.
After Suffolk Downs moved the new casino complex close to the horse track’s Revere side, present Mayor Marty Walsh tried to set right his chances. He took his chances and bet on the Mohegan Sun, but unfortunately for him, he didn’t prepare for the worst case scenario.
The scene for Suffolk Downs
Suffolk Downs had a tough chance this time, and legalization of wagering has been long been supported by owners of Revere and East Boston—two aging horse tracks in the region. The winning of Suffolk Downs could have bought a large number of job opportunities to the state, but it also meant that the money would be concentrated in the hands of a few.
In all, gambling is a game where the winner can take all, and Wynn is ready to take his winnings this time.