A move by the Wynn Resorts – headed up by casino mogul Steve Wynn - to bolster its image locally and to radically differentiate itself from the Suffolk Downs/Caesar’s Entertainment group has made a big splash this week in the small pond of casino developers vying for a Greater Boston casino license.
The move – observers said – shows that Steve Wynn is interested in making a serious run at getting the license, as opposed to just trying to make waves and upset the order of things for a short time.
Many in Revere, East Boston and surrounding areas had doubts about Wynn’s seriousness.
Doug Bailey of DBStrategies in Newton – a veteran public relations operator in the Boston area – told the Journal that Wynn had hired his firm to reach out to local press in relation to Wynn’s proposal to build a casino in Everett.
Prior to that, local press had to contact company representatives in Las Vegas.
That news came just as it was passed around insider circles that other high-powered public relations operators and Boston area power brokers had joined the Wynn team.
At the same time, in a press release directed to the Journal, Wynn Resorts highlighted the fact that it had been named a 2013 Forbes Five-Star Award Winner. The release also noted that Wynn Resorts had 40 stars among their Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award winning properties, which is more than any other independent company in the world.
It was also pointed out that Caesar’s Entertainment came in fourth on that same list in which Wynn Resorts stood at the top.
It was the 55th edition of the Forbes Travel Guide and it named the Tower Suites and Spas at Wynn and Encore Las Vegas and the hotels and spas at Wynn Macau and Encore Macau to the rigorous ratings list.
“The Forbes Five-Stars are generally regarded as the most prestigious and stringent of all hotel and resort rating institutions,” said Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts. “Our new awards at Encore Macau, Five-Stars in both the spa and hotel, and the latest Five-Stars for both the spa and hotel at Wynn Macau, create a clean sweep for our Macau hotels. Our ongoing Five- Stars for both the spas and hotels at Encore Las Vegas and Wynn Las Vegas afford us the honor of holding more Forbes Stars than any other independent resort company in the world.”
Wynn continued, “We are, of course, thrilled at this wonderful distinction. Yet, we recognize and covet the most important of all ratings – the satisfaction of each guest at each of our hotels every day.”
Forbes Travel Guide’s Star rating designations are considered by many as the gold standard for hospitality excellence – at least according to the acclaimed Forbes Magazine.
That top-of-the-list designation and Wynn’s move toward gathering some of the top public relations specialists and power brokers in the Boston area came on a week when Caesar’s Entertainment took a couple of hits.
On Monday, the company’s earnings for the fourth quarter of 2012 came out and disappointed some on Wall Street – as the company has already had some questions about debt and its overall bond rating in the last few years.
Citing the effects of Hurricane Sandy in the final months of 2012, the company posted a loss and did not meet the expectations that had been predicted on Wall Street. However, CEO Gary Loveman said the results showed progress in the company strategy to reinvigorate its core business.
Caesar’s is partnered with the ownership of Suffolk Downs to operate the casino portion of the proposed development, but is not a majority stakeholder in the operation.
More locally, in East Boston, a group of concerned residents formed a new coalition that is displeased with Suffolk Downs and the City of Boston’s community process.
On Monday, that group – called the Community Alliance – unveiled a survey of 360 residents from various areas of Eastie in which more than 50 percent reported being in opposition to a casino there. Many were concerned about higher crime, more traffic, more air pollution and noise.
The survey showed that some residents of Eastie reported that general quality of life and sense of community would decline if a casino were to emerge at Suffolk Downs.
If the survey can be seen as accurate, it signals that perhaps Suffolk Downs has just as much work to do on its image as Wynn does.
Or then again, it could simply be more Las Vegas hardball imported to the uninitiated Boston gaming scene.