There is not a hint of doubt about it – the reopening of Encore Boston Harbor here in Everett is of absolute importance to the interim and future financial well-being of the city.
No business operating in the city today compares in financial significance to Encore.
The closure of the Encore casino and hotel is a disaster of the first order, not only for Encore, who invested $2.6 billion here, but for the city which relies upon payments from Encore to remain solvent.
One cannot remain solvent without the other.
If this coronavirus disaster were to go on indefinitely, not only would Encore go out of business, but the city would be forced to file a bankruptcy or be put into financial receivership.
If Encore doesn’t open its doors, if Encore takes nothing in or only a quarter of what it did before the closure, it is dead in the water and will not be able to meet its obligations – contract or not, legal agreement or not.
Lucky for the city, Wynn Resorts has about $3 billion in cash on hand, enough to weather no money coming in at all its locations for about ten or 11 months.
Opening Encore is of crucial importance but it will have to be done the right way.
Encore employees number almost 5,000 men and women. They will need to be protected and everyone returning to Encore to visit and to gamble will have to be treated the same way with extraordinary health and sanitation requirements enforced.
Encore puts about $30 million a year into the city treasury in lieu of taxes.
The second biggest payer into the treasury is Eversource, the energy giant. They pay about $15 million in taxes to the city treasury yearly.
Without Encore in lieu of tax payments coming in on a regular basis, the city’s financial position will become fragile and altogether, impossible.
Without Encore being open, it cannot possibly survive.
The city government should begin immediately reaching out to Encore to ask the folks there what the city can do to ease their burden during this time when nothing is coming in and everything is going out.
Easing the burden doesn’t imply Encore not paying us, rather, it implies that the city should be asking how and what it needs to do to get the place open and generating income again when the crisis has passed.
The city’s budget making process is coming up.
Encore is a major cog in that process.
No taxpayer here is more important or should be treated with more sensitivity and fairness at this point than Encore.