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Is Everett's Massive Casino-Resort Doomed? Yes and No

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There's an Olympics analogy somewhere in this

A prickly spat between would-be Everett casino developer-slash-operator Wynn and Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone over the possible traffic from the resort appears to have stalled its construction. Curtatone wants the state to review his appeal re: the environmental impact of what could be 18,000 cars a day flowing to the $1,700,000,000 casino-resort across the Mystic from Somerville.

That appeal could take months. And, during those months (perhaps as many as nine or 12), a lot could happen to derail the development entirely.

In a particularly sober (or histrionic, depending on one's viewpoint) release on Wednesday, Wynn announced an "abrupt stop" in construction on the project. The release attacked Curtatone's opposition, naturally, and detailed the alleged effects of a construction stoppage.

Mayor Curtatone’s appeal of Wynn’s Chapter 91 license will also cost the Commonwealth $660 million a year/$55 million a month. ...

The delay will severely impact schoolchildren, public safety, healthcare, transportation, parks and non-profits across the state.

The children. Ouch. Curtatone responded to Wynn's release—and a later presser that included vows of support from the mayors of Everett and Malden—with his own stinging words. "I’m not backing down," Curtatone said, according to the Globe. "No amount of public theater and political harassment will stop me." Hizzoner then suggested that Wynn was playing fast and loose with Massachusetts legalities.

What's it all mean for the casino-resort's actual fate? It seems unlikely, given support elsewhere and the other O.K.'s that Wynn has in hand, that the project is doomed. Yet the delay that Curtatone's appeal has wrought could do just that: doom the resort. The economic winds could shift; the political realities could change (the project enjoys strong support from organized labor, for now); or some unforeseen event/trend/opposition could emerge.

A short while ago, the Everett casino-resort appeared foreordained. Now it doesn't. And six months from now, it won't. And nine months from now, probably; and then 12. We're tempted to draw a comparison with the 2024 Summer Games that seemed predestined for Boston, until they weren't. Vastly different circumstances, we know, but the same vibe. Delay doesn't equal derailment; but it doesn't help.