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Chris Sieroty

Wynn steps up casino lobbying in Massachusetts

20 December 2011

FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts -- Wynn Resorts Ltd. founder Steve Wynn has stepped up his lobbying efforts to gain community support for a casino-resort in Massachusetts.

In a letter sent to approximately 8,000 registered voters in Foxborough, Mass., Wynn stressed that he understands some residents "are fearful when they hear the word casino."

"That is not our business," he wrote.

Downplaying the gaming aspects of his plan, Wynn said his Las Vegas-based company builds five-star hotels, offering spas, entertainment, and restaurant and convention facilities that attract people "in pursuit of an experience."

"A gaming room represents a small portion of the resort's overall square footage (and) makes it possible to build these amenities," Wynn wrote.

Under the proposal, Wynn would lease land in the Boston suburb across from Gillette Stadium to build a $1 billion casino. Wynn would lease the land from The Kraft Group, a company owned by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

"What I thought before my visit, and what was solidified through my discussions with residents is that what is appropriate for Las Vegas is inappropriate for Foxborough," Wynn said in his letter. "We design our own buildings.

"With your input, we will create a resort destination with the character of Foxborough at its heart."

The proposal must win two-thirds approval from voters in Foxborough, and a license from the newly created State Gaming Commission. The Foxborough Board of Selectman on Tuesday voted 3-2 to allow Wynn to directly pitch his resort proposal to the town.

Wynn is scheduled to present his plan to residents on Jan. 10.

His letter restates that a $1 billion investment will result in 10,000 permanent jobs, with a hiring preference for Foxborough residents and their children. He said construction of the resort would also create 10,000 jobs.

Casino opponents, including, argue a casino in Foxborough would cause crime to increase, including child neglect and domestic abuse. The organization also claims a casino would divert dollars from local restaurants and businesses.

In response, Wynn wrote that he wanted to assure both opponents and supporters that if "we decide to move forward with a formal proposal, we will listen to your concerns carefully and address them individually."