Suffolk Downs Takes Wynn Resorts to State Court

Suffolk Downs

Suffolk Downs has taken its case against Wynn Resorts to state court, arguing the casino company should not have been provided the Boston area casino license.

Suffolk Downs racetrack was a facility in Massachusetts offering horse racing. The property does not exist anymore as it closed down and has been purchased for a development project. However, the former owner of the property, us currently taking Wynn Resorts to court again, continuing its argument that the operator should now have been giving the casino license in the Boston area. The company had a previous lawsuit dismissed but are now taking the case to state court.

The Purpose of the Lawsuit

It is too late to gain the casino license, as the Encore Boston Harbor opened in 2019. The Everett casino cost $2.6 billion to create and has been quite successful thus far. For Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, it is not about the license anymore, it is about the losses they claim occurred by losing out on the competition. The group wants to be compensated for the losses.

A federal lawsuit filed by Sterling Suffolk was dismissed about a year ago via US District Judge Patti Saris. The judge ruled that the company did not provide enough to support the claims of racketeering listed in the lawsuit. The company is currently appealing this decision.

With the ruling, the option to go to state court remained open. So, on November 16, Sterling Suffolk filed a lawsuit in state court. Wynn Resorts and FBT Everett Realty LLC was named in the suit. The realty company is the former owner of the land where the casino is located.

In this suit, the company claims that Wynn along with top executive’s broke state law. They claim unfair and deceptive acts took place, as the company withheld information from the state Gaming Commission. The alleged information reportedly would have kept the company from obtaining a casino license in the state.

Sterling Suffolk also says in the case that the actions of Wynn Resorts to protect the bid for the casino interfered with the business relationship that Sterling Suffolk had at the time with the Mohegan Sun. The gaming operator was to pay the racetrack company a minimum of $35 million a year.

The Argument

At the heart of the state lawsuit, Sterling Suffolk claims that Wynn did not tell the Gaming Commission about several problems that would have disqualified them from the license. Because of this, Sterling Suffolk lost the casino license in 2014 to Wynn Resorts, which essentially caused the racetrack to shut down.

Sterling Suffolk claims that at least three people of FBT Everett Realty have criminal records. The former track owner also says that Wynn has problematic Macau business partners. They also cited the sexual misconduct allegations that were filed involving former Wynn CEO Steve Wynn. The allegations came out after the vote took place involving the Boston casino license.

Wynn denied the allegations, but the company quickly distanced themselves from him. In Massachusetts, regulators ended up investigating the company and required a $35 million fine due to concerns regarding the allegations.

Changes were also made in the executive positions and board members of the company. The allegations against Steve Wynn included details that executives were told about his misconduct and it was overlooked.

For the Wynn casino in Massachusetts, it did well from the start, but has struggled since the pandemic first began back in March. The casino was shut down and now has decreased operations due to COVID-19. Sterling Suffolk is still operating out of the Suffolk Downs location, but only offering simulcasting at this time.

We shall see where the lawsuit goes and if the state route will see Sterling Suffolk receive a different result than its federal case.

Associate Writer: Geoff enjoys both live and online poker as well as casino games, and is particularly knowledgeable about the legal landscape of online gambling.