Wynn, Patriots owner in talks for casino next to football stadium

Steve Wynn, one of Nevada’s most successful casino owners and operators, is in negotiations with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft to build a $1 billion casino adjacent to Gillette Stadium.

The resort-casino on 200 acres would be part of a larger complex that would include a hotel, retail, restaurants and entertainment facilities, according to a report in The Boston Globe.

While a deal has not been completed, a spokesman for The Kraft Group confirmed the talks on Friday.

"We believe that Wynn Resorts Ltd. is best in class in the resort-destination industry, and we’ve invited Steve Wynn to visit Foxborough (Mass.) to meet with residents and decide if there is mutual interest in exploring a resorts destination here," Kraft Group spokesman Jeff Cournoyer said in an email.

Cournoyer confirmed Wynn would attend Sunday’s Patriots game against the Indianapolis Colts to "talk to some residents and officials about what a project of the caliber of Wynn Resorts would mean for Foxborough."

"We would only agree to proceed if there was mutual interest between Wynn Resorts and the town of Foxborough," Cournoyer said.

A Wynn Resorts spokesman was unavailable for comment Friday.

National Football League rules prohibit franchises from owning casinos. But a league spokesman declined to discuss whether team owners can lease land to casino operators.

"Nothing has been presented to us concerning the specifics of any arrangement," said Brian McCarthy, vice president of corporate communications with the NFL in New York. "If and when that occurs, we will evaluate the transaction under our policies."

According to the NFL’s gambling policy, the league doesn’t have an outright ban of team owners leasing property to casino owners. The league’s rules deal with fixing games, failing to report bribes, betting on games or associated with gamblers or gambling activities in a manner that discredits the NFL.

"You should also be aware that the league has a long-standing policy against any advertising or promotional activities by players, clubs, coaches, or other management personnel that can reasonably be perceived as constituting affiliation with or endorsement of gambling or gambling related-activities," the NFL’s gambling policy states.

Wynn Resorts owns and operates Wynn Las Vegas, Encore and Wynn Macau. Shares of Wynn Resorts lost 55 cents, or 0.46 percent, to close Friday at $118.41 on volume of 1.56 million shares traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Penn National Gaming Inc. are also believed to be among gaming companies looking to develop Massachusetts casinos.

The state’s new casino law requires approval from residents in a local referendum before construction of a casino-resort can begin. Also, the Kraft-Wynn proposal faces competition from Suffolk Downs, a horse-racing track in East Boston, for the greater Boston area’s one casino license.

The new law, which authorizes one slots parlor in addition to three full-scale casinos, requires a minimum investment of $500 million in the casinos.

Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at csieroty@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893.

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