By Josh Resnek
Since opening at the end of June, the casino has not come close to reaching income estimates established by the pro’s running the place who gained much of their experience in Las Vegas and Macau.
The Everett Encore Casino and Hotel is not Macau or Las Vegas. The masters of gaming and entertainment there have not achieved mastery here.
Boston and the cities around it like Everett are places unto themselves.
People here, people coming here, tend to enjoy themselves in environments that have little to nothing to do with casino gambling.
The leadership of Encore has come to understand this in a few short months of operation.
Nearly everything having to do with excessive pricing and higher prices have come down since the June opening.
In fact, there is a sign in Medford atop a great pole advertising Encore’s new specials – $15 gaming tables and free parking.
That’s down from $50 gaming tables and $40 parking charges when the doors first opened.
Room prices for the hotel – inarguably about the most lavishly appointed and conceived structure of its kind in New England and originally hailed as the most expensive– now features rooms for $100 or even less for Red Card holders during certain times.
All the room prices have fallen – even the larger rooms and suite pricing have not fallen, they have collapsed.
Occupancy is lower than expected.
The big numbers expected just aren’t being generated.
One gambler I know very well, the kind of guy who notices everything about casinos wherever he goes, describes the food buffet at Encore as “already downhill.”
In his mind, Encore is gearing the buffet to the lower level taste buds and shorter pockets of customers presently frequenting the casino.
He said also that the restaurants need more customers and larger crowds of visitors and gamblers coming to the casino.
“That hasn’t materialized the way it was hoped for and expected,” my friend claims.
“The crowds are simply not there,” he added.
Even my gambler friend, who cares very little about what things cost, said the restaurants were pretty high priced for the local crowd coming to the casino and keeping it going.
“Not a lot of people visiting the casino from around here want to pay $150-$200 for dinner,” he added.
“There needs to be a $10 food court,” he said.
“That’s probably coming,” he added.
Although he said he wasn’t counting, he said he had been to the casino 11 times and hadn’t scored a win yet.
I told him I wanted to back him with $1000 because he’s due. This guy is due for a huge night at the casino.
I’ve been with him at Foxwoods when he’s won $4,000 and $7,000. Kind of hard to bet on him having a big night at Encore, isn’t it?
Last week the mayor had his pre-Christmas fundraiser at the casino.
The mayor claimed to those who not question him that 400 people attended.
There weren’t 400 people there, but the time was well attended. He raised some badly needed dough for his bleeding campaign account – even though he is not campaigning.
I understand he told one developer he is continuing to pay criminal attorneys to keep him safe from prosecution and his handlers at the FBI.
Can you imagine telling anyone, let alone a developer such a thing!
Many city employees required to attend the time and donate were sometimes found at the cash bar, with their wives or a friend, paying $37 for a wine and a mixed drink together!
I heard that quite a number of city employees drank beer at home before coming to the time – although there was supposed to be some free champagne being poured inside the room.
A few city employees who dropped off checks were called later and told their checks hadn’t been big enough.
You like that? What a thing.
What did the mayor raise?
Hard to say.
He won’t tell me.
Whatever he claims, it is less than the amount he raised, you can bet on that.
Guesses of what came into the political account range from $40,000 to $60,000.
I have been told the mayor has been on his best behavior since the election, acting as though he is sincere, smiling quite a bit, and sharing his love with the general public.
Pretending he is made up of exquisitely genuine and good feelings is an act he has mastered.
Deep down, and really, not so deep down, he rules by instilling fear in city employees.
His mantra is simple: “I’m the boss. Do as I order you, contribute when you are told or be gone.”
The mayor is worried that his grip on city hall has been weakened by the outcome of the election. In this respect, he remains normal. Like the animals who live in the forest who grow worried when they smell smoke from a faraway fire, he is smelling the smoke.
This is why he trying to act as though everything is great and nothing has changed.
He is worried about his future in the corner office. Everything changes.
Nothing remains the same.
It’s all downhill from here.