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March 26, 2017

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Court: Suit challenging Wynn casino decision in Mass. should proceed

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Wynn Resorts / AP

This artist’s rendering released Wednesday, March 27, 2013, by Wynn Resorts shows a proposed resort casino on the banks of the Mystic River in Everett, Mass.

BOSTON — Massachusetts' highest court ruled Friday that a lawsuit challenging Wynn Resorts' gambling license can move forward.

The Supreme Judicial Court decision sends back to a lower court a lawsuit alleging the state Gaming Commission violated the open meetings law as it deliberated the lucrative Boston-area casino license.

The city of Revere, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Mohegan Sun and a group of Revere residents had sued the commission, citing a range of complaints about the deliberations leading up to the 2014 decision.

The five-member panel picked Wynn's proposal for the Everett waterfront over Mohegan Sun's plan for the Suffolk Downs horse racing track in Boston.

The Supreme Judicial Court, in its ruling, suggested that such an open meetings violation could lead to the nullification of certain actions taken at the meetings in question or result in civil penalties or other legal remedies.

The court also affirmed the lower court's ruling that Mohegan Sun had legal standing, but that the city and local labor union did not.

Kevin Brown, chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, said in a statement the high court's ruling affirmed the casino's belief that the licensing process was flawed. But a casino spokeswoman didn't immediately comment on whether Mohegan Sun would press forward with its legal challenge.

Mohegan Sun is currently proposing a second gambling facility in Connecticut that would be jointly run with in-state rival Foxwoods. That proposal is meant to compete with a casino MGM Resorts International is building in the western Massachusetts city of Springfield.

A Wynn spokesman said Friday's decision doesn't have an impact on its roughly $2 billion Wynn Boston Harbor project. The development is on schedule to open June 2019, the Las Vegas-based company said.

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