By Bob Weiss, CBSBoston.com Travel Contributor


BOSTON (CBS) – It’s still a couple of years away, but Boston is going to get its first casino action.

Ground was officially broken this week for the Wynn Resort Casino, a $2.1 billion dollar project located about a mile away from Sullivan Square in Charlestown.

Situated on 33 acres, it calls itself Wynn Boston Harbor, but is actually located on the Mystic River and is the largest construction project in Massachusetts.

According to Suffolk Construction, builders of the project, 200 workers are now employed there with the number expected to double in the next 90 days. On a hot August day on the site, you could count 10 cranes and six cement trucks already at work.

To highlight the scope of the project, Wynn officials said both trucks and the adjacent railroad tracks would be used to haul away dirt from the site at night.

Winter weather will play a big part of the scheduled opening date for the casino. On Thursday, the opening date was mentioned as June of 2019. My guess is that it will open around the first of that year.

When it happens, Boston’s hospitality and tourism business will be changed. Wynn Boston Harbor plans to have about 37,000 sq. ft. of meeting space available at the new hotel. It will also employ about 4,000 workers at the site when it opens.

Renderings of a planned Wynn casino in Everett. (Photo credit Wynn Resorts)

Renderings of a planned Wynn casino in Everett. (Photo credit Wynn Resorts)

In the last five years, Connecticut casinos have been very successful in attracting business meetings. The stigma in holding a convention at a resort casino has disappeared.

The Red Sox hold a Fan Fest in January at Foxwoods and Cumberland Farms has held meetings at the Connecticut casino.

Over one-third of the action at Connecticut’s two casinos comes from Massachusetts’s residents.

The majority of players at the new Wynn casino and hotel are expected to come from a 15-mile radius of the complex.

The major problem facing the new resort is access from Interstate 93 north of the city.

A traffic light at the bottom of the ramp leading to Sullivan Square appears to be the major choke point, especially in the afternoon rush hour. Shuttle buses from Sullivan Square should make it to the site in about five minutes.

Currently, Boston taxicab pick-up could be a late night problem as the casino is actually located in Everett, not Boston.

That leaves ride-sharing vehicles like Lyft and Uber ready to step-in and provide rides.

All of this is a “Big Wynn” for Massachusetts.

Bob Weiss reports on business travel on Mondays at 5:55 a.m. on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

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