Hearing On Future Of Encore Boston Harbor Project Begins April 1

Written By Martin Derbyshire on April 1, 2019Last Updated on January 31, 2023

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is finally ready to hold a hearing on the fate of the Encore Boston Harbor casino project.

The $2.6 billion casino project is currently in its final phase of construction in Everett. Owner Wynn Resorts planning to open the doors this June.

However, local gaming authorities must make a decision on Wynn Resorts’ suitability as a casino operator first.

Pre-hearing motions with Wynn executives lawyers were held March 28. The adjudicatory hearing started April 1. The Commission’s executive director Ed Bedrosian said the hearing will last at least three days with more than 20 witnesses providing testimony.

Sexual harassment allegations

At issue is a series of sexual harassment allegations against Wynn Resorts founder and CEO Steve Wynn. The allegations were first published by the Wall Street Journal in January 2018. Whether the company held back information regarding the allegations the first time the Commission ruled on Wynn Resorts’ suitability will also be discussed.

Wynn has since stepped down from the company. Wynn Resorts has made efforts to distance the project from the controversy. These efforts include changing its name from Wynn Boston Harbor to Encore Boston Harbor.

The Commission asked its Investigations and Enforcement Bureau to look into the allegations. Steve Wynn filed a lawsuit claiming documents in the report are covered by attorney-client privilege. This initially held back its release. However, the two sides have since settled and investigators released the report to the Commission earlier this month.

Commission investigators claim there is critical information that remains in the report as a part of the settlement. The Commission will make the report public on the first day of the adjudicatory hearing.

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Wynn Resorts’ Massachusetts casino license

The adjudicatory hearing will ultimately help determine whether Wynn Resorts will keep its Massachusetts casino license.

Bedrosian said he expects the first day of the hearing to include a summary investigators’ findings.

The Wynn Resorts team will have the opportunity to ask questions and present its own evidence. Additionally, Commissioners can ask questions.

Bedrosian said the process will take multiple days. He said the Commission’s office will likely not be able to accommodate the large public crowds and media expected to attend.

Nevada gaming regulators have already stuck Wynn Resorts with a $20 million fine for failing to properly report and investigate the sexual harassment allegations. However, it stopped short of pulling its casino license.

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Martin Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years experience in the world of poker and gambling. He contributes to a number of publications dealing with the US regulated online gambling market. He has traveled the globe working as an editor, producer, and writer as well as interviewing major players in the gaming world.

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