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November 26, 2014

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Boston mayor: ‘No-win’ situation with Wynn; will boycott arbitration

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Wynn Resorts / AP

This artist’s rendering released Wednesday, March 27, 2013, by Wynn Resorts shows a proposed resort casino on the banks of the Mystic River in Everett, Mass.

Updated Tuesday, July 15, 2014 | 1:31 p.m.

BOSTON — State gambling regulators are weighing how to respond to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh's refusal to participate in arbitration with Wynn Resorts for a financial compensation deal.

The Las Vegas-based casino giant proposes a $1.6 billion resort in neighboring Everett as it competes with Mohegan Sun for the sole state gambling license for the Boston area.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission asked its staff on Tuesday to review similar agreements between local cities and towns and casino operators as it decides what steps it will take. It also requested that staff gather information about possible casino impacts on Boston from a broad range of sources, including Wynn, the city, the commission's consultants and community members.

Reaching financial deals with municipalities is a key part of seeking a state casino license. The deals are meant to compensate qualified cities or towns for any impacts to local services or traffic from a new casino.

Last week, Boston reached a deal worth roughly $300 million over 15 years with Mohegan Sun, which proposes a $1.3 billion resort in Revere. But the city had been unable to reach an agreement with Wynn.

Arbitration was to begin earlier this month, but Walsh said the city would decline to participate. Under that process, each side would have submitted a "best and final offer" and a neutral arbitrator would have picked one.

Boston risks millions of dollars in annual payments by opting out of arbitration. Under state regulations, the gaming commission can rule that Boston waived its rights to be designated a "surrounding community" to the Wynn project.

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