- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 22, 2015

BOSTON (AP) - Wynn Resorts’ Boston-area casino was the focus in court Tuesday as a judge heard arguments in the state’s bid to throw out a series of lawsuits challenging its decision to grant the company a gambling license.

Boston, Revere, Somerville, Mohegan Sun and others, in separate lawsuits, say a state commission’s decision last year to award Wynn Resorts a gambling license was flawed and corrupt. They want the ruling overturned and the competition restarted.

But the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which oversees casinos, argued Tuesday that the complaints should be dismissed because gambling license decisions aren’t subject to court review under state law, something casino applicants are well aware of when they apply.

Mohegan Sun’s lawyer Kenneth Leonetti countered that the company, which lost to Wynn in the license competition and is a co-plaintiff in Revere’s lawsuit, isn’t challenging the decision but everything leading up to it.

“We had the right to expect a fair process,” he said. “The whole process violated the statute.”

The commission also argued Tuesday that some of the complaints exceed the statute of limitations.

Wynn was awarded the Boston-area license on Sept. 17, 2014, but Boston didn’t file its lawsuit until Jan. 5 2015, well past the 60-day window to challenge such decisions, commission lawyer David Mackey said.

“Boston had its chance, and it missed it,” he said.

Boston’s lawyer Thomas Frongillo maintained the Wynn license wasn’t officially awarded until days after the November 2014 election, when a ballot question that would have repealed the state’s casino law failed to pass. The commission, he argued, took a vote officially awarding the license Nov. 7; the state’s lawyer dismissed that vote on the Wynn license as a mere formality.

Boston also took issue with the state’s contention that it lacks legal standing in the case.

Frongillo argued that even though Wynn’s casino project is located in Everett, across the river from Boston, the main entry into the roughly 30-acre property is through a road originating in Boston.

“It’s the only way in and the only way out,” he said. “You don’t have a gaming establishment without a way in.”

Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders ended Tuesday’s session after two and half hours of arguments and didn’t immediately rule.

She had denied the state’s previous effort to toss out Boston’s lawsuit.

Wynn is planning a $1.7 billion resort casino, hotel and entertainment complex on the site of a former Monsanto chemical plant. It hopes to open in 2018.

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