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Two Gaming-Related Speakers Visit Campus, Speak to Students

March 03, 2016

Robert DeSalvio, president of Wynn Resorts Massachusetts - which plans to open a new casino in Everett, and Stephen Crosby, Chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission - which approved the Wynn casino plan, each spoke to separate student groups on campus March 2.

DeSalvio was the keynote speaker at the annual Hospitality Day event for Hospitality and Event Management majors, while Crosby spoke to a State and Local Government Class taught by Professor Paul Debole.

DeSalvio largely spoke about his career trajectory from his first position with the Denver Hilton to his current position with Wynn Resorts.

"I always knew what I wanted to do since I was a kid. I wanted to be in this business," said DeSalvio.

He discussed the Everett casino project and ideas about expansion as well as his work in Las Vegas before moving to the East Coast.

He also encouraged the students to focus on their career goals and develop their contacts as a recipe for success.

Meanwhile, across campus, Crosby described the lengthy process of bringing gaming to the state from the creation of legislation and the gaming commission to the approval process and the goal of transparency in the process.

"This is a petri dish for public policy," Crosby told the class.

Crosby made the case for allowing casinos in the state despite the fact that in a referendum, 40% of state residents voted against the idea.

Crosby believes that billions of dollars are at stake and that the state will benefit greatly from tax revenue generated from casinos in Massachusetts. Currently three of the fours available casino licenses have been awarded by the commission.

The Commission chair also described the transparency in the casino project selection process including live streaming of commission meetings, giving local communities control over proposed casino projects, the creation of a fund for the mitigation of unexpected problems related to casinos and the creation of a research project that will track the effects of casinos on gambling problems among the state's residents.

Crosby ended his talk by addressing current issues around gambling including whether fantasy sports betting should be considered gambling and therefore be regulated.