SBD/December 6, 2011/Facilities

Kraft, Wynn Address Concerns About Proposed Casino Across From Gillette Stadium

Patriots Owner Robert Kraft and Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn yesterday said that the proposed $1B casino resort across from Gillette Stadium “would include a luxury hotel, gambling hall, shops, restaurants, and convention space" but insisted that it "would still feel as if it 'fits in the woods' of Foxborough,” according to Ross & Bierman of the BOSTON GLOBE. Kraft and Wynn made a joint appearance in Foxborough to "argue that the casino would be an economic engine for the town and region." Wynn said, “What is appropriate for Las Vegas would be completely out of scale and inappropriate in Massachusetts.” Wynn added that he “originally approached Kraft about the idea about six months ago.” The two execs seemed “intent on addressing the concerns of Foxborough’s 16,865 residents more than any other audience” and “held interviews with several news organizations in a television studio inside Gillette Stadium.” They promised to “build a facility that would generate business activity and tax dollars for the community, while protecting what they called Foxborough’s bucolic character.” Kraft said, “We’ve had a 25-year relationship. Unless we can satisfy the mothers and the people here that this is in the best interest in the community, then we don’t want to do it.” NFL rules “prohibit teams from owning or operating casinos, but Kraft suggested that his arrangement with Wynn would not violate those policies.” Kraft said, “It’s just like Staples coming in and renting space from us” (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/6). Kraft said that a resort casino would also "boost property values in the area." Kraft: "Mr. Wynn wants to build a destination resort here that the end result of which, we believe, will increase all the real estate value in the town of Foxboro. It will increase tax revenue that will be available" (Foxboro SUN CHRONICLE, 12/6).

IN THE CARDS? NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello said, “The issue has to do with (team) ownership and casino operations. But nothing has been presented for our office to evaluate. If and when that occurs, we’ll evaluate that.” He added, “There are no rules that pertain to the proximity of legal gambling establishments to stadiums. There are a number of stadiums with legal gambling establishments nearby. So that’s not an issue” (BOSTON HERALD, 12/6). In Boston, David Abel cites sports analysts as saying that as long as betting on sports remains illegal in Massachusetts, "a casino built beside Gillette Stadium would be unlikely to corrupt players or tarnish the Patriots" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/6).

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