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3 apply to operate resort casinos in Mass.

December 31, 2013

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts gambling regulators said they would spend several months evaluating final applications submitted by three companies hoping to win licenses to build the state’s first resort casinos.

As expected, Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts International and Mohegan Sun filed detailed “Phase 2” applications with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission by Tuesday’s deadline.

Mohegan Sun and Wynn are vying for the only eastern Massachusetts resort casino license allowed under the state’s 2011 gambling law, while MGM is the only applicant in the state’s western region.

The applications, thousands of pages in length, provide exhaustive details about the proposals and will be evaluated by the five-member commission on the basis of several key criteria, including finances, economic development, building and site design, and plans the developers have to reduce impacts on local residents and businesses.

The commission hopes to make portions of the applications public next month and has invited all three companies to a Jan. 22 public hearing to discuss their proposals. Licensing decisions are not expected until late May or June.

Wynn Resorts, which has proposed a $1.2 billion resort at a former industrial site on the banks of the Mystic River in Everett, said Tuesday that it submitted its application to the commission last Friday. A spokesman for the Las Vegas company said the filing included 750 documents totaling more than 18,000 pages, delivered in leather-covered, gold-embossed notebooks and flash drives.

Connecticut-based Mohegan Sun said it submitted its final application on Tuesday in 15 boxes totaling more than 16,000 pages of documents.

The company is hoping to develop a $1.3 billion resort on 42 acres of land owned by Suffolk Downs in Revere. The plan emerged after a proposal by Suffolk Downs for a casino straddling the Boston-Revere border was rejected by East Boston voters in a Nov. 5 referendum.

While Revere voters had approved the earlier plan, the commission said a new vote would be needed by city residents on the Revere-only project because of how dramatically it differed from the original proposal. The referendum, scheduled for Feb. 25, has to be approved for the application to go forward.

“Mohegan Sun will create something very special in Revere: a wonderful gaming and entertainment destination that drives tourism and delivers thousands of jobs,” said Mitchell Etess, chief executive of the Uncasville, Conn.-based Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, in a statement.

MGM has proposed an $800 million casino in downtown Springfield and delivered its final application on Monday.

The state law also allowed for one resort casino in southeastern Massachusetts, but gave first preference in the region to a federally-recognized Indian tribe. The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe has proposed a casino in Taunton, but the gaming commission has said it would consider applicants for commercial developers if the tribe fails to show progress in securing needed federal approvals.

The commission is also weighing three applications submitted in October for the single slots parlor license allowed under the law, with a decision expected in March.

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