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City remains in historic lockdown

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Everett’s LNG tanks look foreboding in the early morning overcast light. (Photo by Josh Resnek)

Encore trying to figure out reopening strategy

By JOSH RESNEK

The March gaming income report released on April 15 by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission revealed a quantum drop in gaming revenues at the Encore Casino, obviously.

Gaming revenues for the month were down about $30 million dollars from the same period of time the month before.

Revenues for April will be zero, a net loss of about $50 million in average monthly gaming revenues.

With the doors closed at the hotel and the casino, the net revenues coming in have fallen to zero.

With about $3 billion in the bank, Wynn Resorts isn’t yet worried about going broke.

Industry analysts remain confident the casino giant can remain solvent for about 11 months spending down its precious cash if the facility here and in Las Vegas remain closed.

The Macau operation about 30 miles from Hong Kong, which takes in about 70% of Wynn Resorts income, has reopened.

However visitation has been slim to none.

In the meantime, Encore officials as well as its company officials in Las Vegas, are experimenting with ways to reduce social contact and at the same time to have the state allow the casino and hotel to open.

This is easier said than done.

According to an executive who is employed with Encore, the experimentation is ongoing.

“They are trying to figure out how to run table games by follow- ing social distancing policies. They have been sanitizing the different colored chips because everyone playing a table game touches the chips – and would therefor spread the virus from those playing who are infected to any number of play- ers who are not infected,” he told the Leader Herald.

The Encore Casino with Sweetser Circle in the foreground.

He said the washing of the chips so far after each game was a failure. “The color of the chips fade away with the disinfecting process making it difficult to impossible to discern them,” he noted.

“Also,” he said, “what do the dealers do? Do they wear gloves and change them after every hand? And how do they deal with the cards, which are touched by so many hands, and taken back and then spread all around. This is another problem,” he noted.

“Last, what do you do with dice? Do you throw them away after each roll? Do you disinfect them? What do you do?” he wondered.

Last week, the Leader Herald reported the Wynn Resorts health and sanitation plan.

The company is attempting to launch it in Las Vegas.

It is believed it will set the standard for the reopening effort in Everett when that day comes to pass.

Everything is about limiting crowds but reopening at the same time.

It requires temperature taking and hand sanitizing for all those who enter the casinos and for social distancing and facemasks inside the casino and hotel, and for social distancing in elevators, restaurants, bath rooms, parking facilities and on and on.

In Las Vegas, the hotel there is apparently taking reservations for Memorial Day without knowing whether or not the place will be allowed to open.

Reopening in Everett does not look possible or likely until at last June, according to messaging coming from the governor’s office.

Without revenues coming in, the state will lose tens of millions of dollars in tax revenues and Everett won’t be too far behind.

Down the road in Connecticut, officials there are trying to deal with Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods who are believed to be “on the ropes.”

In Springfield, the closed MGM casino and hotel is another looming disaster.

None of the above have the cash or the staying power of Wynn Resorts.

These facilities will all reopen, but there are two major questions, when and to what extent?

What will the new normal be for the gaming industry in the next two years?

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