BOSTON (AP) -- Boston dropped its bid to be considered a host community for a $1.2 billion gambling resort project proposed for the banks of the Mystic River, the state’s gambling commission announced Friday.
Boston will instead accept the status of a surrounding community, which under the state’s 2011 casino law will allow it to negotiate for compensation from developer Steve Wynn, but will not give the city or its residents a direct say in whether the project goes forward.
The agreement represents a significant victory for Wynn, a prominent Las Vegas casino operator. Had Boston been designated a host community, Wynn would have been forced to negotiate an agreement with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who strongly supports a competing casino plan in the city’s East Boston neighborhood.
While Boston officials conceded that the proposed casino site was largely situated in the neighboring city of Everett, they had argued that a small sliver of land on the site was actually part of Boston -- meaning that the city would have the right to argue for the more powerful designation of host community.
At a meeting of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Wednesday, former Gov. William Weld, representing Wynn, said the developer may have abandoned his casino proposal had Boston been designated as a host community. Weld presented maps and documents that he said proved all of the land on which Wynn planned to develop his resort was in Everett.
In a joint statement distributed at Friday’s commission meeting, Boston officials and Wynn said they were no longer seeking to have the commission hold a hearing to determine whether Boston should be a host community.