Caesars to appeal dismissed lawsuit against Bay State regulator


BOSTON — Caesars Entertainment intends to appeal a federal judge’s decision dismissing its lawsuit against the state’s top gambling regulator, according to a notice filed in U.S. District Court for Massachusetts this week.

The Las Vegas gambling giant sued Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby last year alleging he violated the company’s constitutionally-guaranteed due process and equal protection rights and unfairly favored Wynn Resorts’ rival casino project in Everett.

But U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton dismissed the suit in May, concluding Caesars’ claim rested on a “shaky foundation” of “naked assertions,” ”improbable inferences” and “sensational accusations.”

The casino had accused Crosby of having a conflict of interest because he had been business partners in the 1980s with Paul Lohnes, one of the owners of the industrial, waterfront land that Wynn intends to develop.

Crosby had disclosed the relationship in state ethics filings, but only about a year after he became aware of the possible conflict. He has since recused himself from the eastern region casino license deliberations but remains chairman of the commission.

Caesars had been a partner with Suffolk Downs for a $1 billion casino project at the horse track, which straddles East Boston and Revere. But Suffolk Downs asked Caesars to withdraw from the project after Gaming Commission investigators voiced concerns about the casino company’s ties to a hotel chain owned, in part, by a businessman allegedly tied to Russian mobsters.

The project ultimately failed after Revere voters approved it but East Boston residents rejected it.

Mohegan Sun then proposed its own $1.3 billion casino focused on the Revere side of the horse track property.

That proposal was approved by Revere voters earlier this year and is now competing against Wynn Resorts for the lone Boston-area casino license, which is expected to be awarded in late August or early September.

 

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