SBD/December 29, 2011/Facilities

Kraft, Wynn Show No Signs Of Backing Off Plan To Build Casino Near Gillette Stadium

A day after their casino proposal was "rebuffed by the town of Foxborough," Patriots Owner Robert Kraft and Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn "expressed dismay at the setback, but showed no sign of backing down from their plan to build a casino near Gillette Stadium," according to Stephanie Ebbert of the BOSTON GLOBE. Wynn Resorts and the Kraft Group in a statement said, "We’re disappointed with the board’s decision to deny Foxborough taxpayers the due process they are entitled under the state’s gaming law. We have not made any decisions regarding next steps." The 3-to-2 "rejection by the town’s Board of Selectmen Tuesday night does not halt the process." Foxborough officials "are convinced that the developers will forge ahead, despite the opposition, in hope of winning supporters." But it "shows how steep a battle Kraft and Wynn could face if they want a casino near the Foxborough sports and entertainment complex." Before a casino package can be considered by a town’s voters, an agreement "has to be negotiated with local leaders." The vote by Foxborough selectmen "made it clear they are not interested in talking." Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chair Stephen Crosby said, "There absolutely will not be casino gambling in any community that does not want it." Still, town officials said that they "do not expect Wynn and the Kraft Group to back down" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/29).

HURDLES TO OVERCOME: In Boston, Chris Cassidy notes, "Nothing can stop Wynn and Kraft from organizing their own meeting, pitching their plan directly to residents and trying to build political momentum. But they need selectmen’s approval to begin the process of a host-town agreement, a majority vote at a town election and a two-thirds majority at a town meeting to overturn a 2004 ban on gambling on Route 1." Massachusetts state Rep. Jay Barrows said, "I just don’t know that you can accomplish those three things after the concerns that were loudly expressed by the residents of Foxboro (Tuesday) night" (BOSTON HERALD, 12/29). Also in Boston, Eric Moskowitz notes vocal supporters of the casino proposal "are hard to find" among the 17,000 residents of Foxborough. Some said that they "knew no one who supports the casino plan; others knew only one or two." They said that even then that support "often amounts less to wholehearted endorsement than to a desire to learn more before dismissing a plan that could bring tax relief to the community" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/29).
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