Sun-sponsored poll finds support for Revere, Mass., casino project

Registered voters in eastern Massachusetts overwhelmingly favor Mohegan Sun's plan for a $1.3 billion resort casino in Revere over Wynn Resorts' $1.6 billion proposal for Everett, results of a Mohegan Sun-commissioned poll show.

Mohegan Sun released the results late last week, just as the focus of the Bay State's casino-licensing process was about to shift to the Greater Boston area, where gaming regulators will hold public hearings this week on the two projects vying for the one license to be awarded in the region.

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission issued the license for western Massachusetts to MGM Resorts International, which plans to build an $800 million casino in Springfield.

In the first of this week's hearings, the Mohegan Sun Massachusetts proposal will be aired from 4 to 8 p.m. today at Revere High School. On Wednesday, the Wynn Resorts project will be discussed from 4 to 8 p.m. at Everett's Edward G. Connolly Center.

"We look forward to this opportunity to illustrate for the commission why Mohegan Sun is the best choice for Massachusetts," Mitchell Etess, the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority's chief executive officer, said Monday. "The differences between Mohegan Sun Massachusetts and our competitor for the Region A license are stark, and our presentation will make that very clear."

The commission is expected to award the license sometime between Aug. 29 and Sept. 12.

In the Mohegan Sun poll, 50 percent of voters favor the Revere plan, while 22 percent prefer the Everett project.

In addition, 56 percent view Mohegan Sun favorably, while 36 percent have a favorable impression of Wynn Resorts, the Las Vegas-based gaming giant. By a 33-point margin, voters prefer Mohegan Sun's plan to build two hotels, including a lower-priced "boutique" hotel, to Wynn's one-hotel plan.

The poll of 412 voters in Suffolk, Middlesex, Norfolk, Essex and Worcester counties was conducted June 6-8 by Anderson Robbins Research.

Hanging over the Massachusetts' casino projects is the prospect of a November referendum aimed at repealing the state's 2011 expanded-gambling law. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is expected to rule in the next several weeks whether the referendum can go forward.

The Mohegan Sun poll found that 58 percent of voters would most likely vote against repealing the gambling law, with 43 percent saying they would definitely vote against repeal. Thirty-five percent indicated they would favor repeal of the law.

Representatives of Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts detailed their respective projects' transportation plans at a commission meeting last week. Mohegan Sun said it plans to undertake more than $45 million in roadway improvements.

In addition to its "host community" agreement with Revere, Mohegan Sun has reached "surrounding community" agreements with 11 municipalities, including Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Lynn, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Salem, Saugus, Somerville and Winthrop.

Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts have yet to reach surrounding community agreements with the City of Boston.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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