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Tribal And Private Gaming Owners Square Off In Massachusetts

Steve Wynn is one of the gaming moguls that is attempting to win a license in Massachusetts to operate a casino. Competing against Wynn Resorts is Mohegan Sun, a tribal gaming company that also is fighting for the Massachusetts license.

This past week, the two gaming companies squared off in an issue over how the state plans to regulate gamblers' winnings. Currently, a provision is in place that would mandate that gamblers that win more than $600 sign a tax form and be subject to instant tax withholding on the winnings.

Steve Wynn, who operates casinos in Las Vegas and all around the world, believes the tax law will keep gamblers from playing in Massachusetts casinos. Wynn has been joined by MGM in their effort to have the regulation changed.

"It's functionally impossible to interrupt play after each hand to administer reporting or withholding," said Wynn Resorts, in a letter to regulators.

The gaming commission in Massachusetts has acknowledged that the provision could be troublesome for casinos and gamblers alike. They have also asserted that the goal is to regulate taxes on winnings in a similar fashion to the casinos in states in surrounding states.

"We anticipate that Massachusetts will follow the practices used in other states," said Department of Revenue Spokeswoman Maryann Merigan.

The federal standard allows for gamblers is lower than the current five percent tax on winnings over $600 that Massachusetts has in place.

Mohegan Sun, which operates a casino in nearby Connecticut, is also looking to win the Massachusetts gaming license, and they took a personal jab at Wynn for his stance on the tax issue.

"The rules were established long before any operator submitted license applications," said Mitchell Etess, Mohegan Gaming Authority CEO. "Steve Wynn apparently wants his own set of rules."

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