Hurdles exist before Encore can open

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Don’t bet on Encore Boston Harbor Resort opening soon. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

Casino will be last Wynn property to welcome back guests, gamblers


The Encore Boston Harbor Casino and Hotel in Everett will not be opening any time soon, according to officials of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and Wynn Resorts officials.

In fact, the MGC guesses Encore will be the last casino to open as Massachusetts is at the epicenter of the Coronavirus.

Wynn properties in Las Vegas are reported to be opening on May 26, but on a vastly reduced scale to begin with.

Many health measures and social distancing policies strictly enforced will be the norm for the next several months, according to Las Vegas gaming officials.

There is great question among industry analysts who are wondering whether or not Las Vegas will remain conducive to families coming for a stay in the age of the virus. Macau, where Wynn Resorts derives as much as 75% of its total revenues, is now open. It has been operating for the past several weeks.

However, in a company wide phone call shared with employees late last week, Wynn officials admitted that attendance in Macau had been sparse with as few as 25-50 gamblers using the grand casino there with the hotel space almost completely empty.

All of the bettors were required by Chinese officials to undergo two weeks quarantine before being allowed to bet inside the casino.

Also, there have been a number of news agencies covering the casino business reporting that billionaire owner of the Sands in Las Vegas, Dorchester native Sheldon Adelson, may be posturing for the purchase of Wynn Resorts entirely.

Wynn Resorts president Matt Maddox denied the company is for sale.

When Las Vegas reopens, there will be no poker games. Craps tables will be opened at a bare minimum of players with social distancing required and as few as three to five people at the table. No crowds cheering on bettors will be allowed.

Company officials were not clear whether or not everyone at Encore Everett will continue to be paid after May turns to June, with some suggesting that a large number of those presently being paid will be furloughed until the facility reopens.

Nothing but big question marks remain about reopening the casino’s restaurants and club.

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Encore Boston Harbor. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

With social distancing requirements making buffets impossible, and the public right now inclined to stay away from enclosed restaurants, great speculation about the future is rampant.

The imposition of strictly enforced crowd requirements will likely make it impossible to run the restaurants profitably.

As for the club, it will remain closed for the present or until larger crowds partying to music and drink are once again allowed under the state’s reopening requirements.

The Encore Hotel’s ballroom facilities and special rooms for private events will not be operating anytime soon, according to officials.

The hotel faces the same strict reopening mandates set by the MGC and the state, with health and sanitation requirements chief among them.

The short term outlook for Encore is disastrous.

The longer term outlook remains something for debate and state regulators to decide. Encore has not taken in any revenue since it closed March 17.

The revenue losses are staggering as are the tax losses for the state and the City of Everett.

The facility had been taking in about $50 million a month, with 25% of that going to the state in taxes. Everett was receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in local room tax charges.

It remains unclear whether or not Encore has paid the city two quarters of its in lieu of tax requirements set at about $6.5 million per payment. Encore and its parent Wynn Resorts are cash rich. They have almost $3 billion in cash which gives the company quite a distance between today and a possible end of the world financial scenario.

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Wynn Resorts needs about $6-$7 million a day to maintain itself with its doors closed and Macau producing next to nothing.

At this rate, Wynn Resorts could go on for many months before suffering a shareholder revolt or a bankruptcy.

What had appeared so certain at its grand opening last June, has entirely and rather dramatically changed with the virus.

A vaccine could turn the situation around in a month or two.

In the meantime, Wynn Resorts stock is trading at under $80. The value of the company’s outstanding stock – its market cap – is about $9 billion.

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