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Subdued opening for Encore

Officials pleased despite Covid-19 restrictions on gaming

Two men walk onto the Encore Boston Harbor property Monday.(Photo By Jim Mahoney)

By JOSH RESNEK

Massive boisterous crowds returning to the greatly restricted Encore Boston Harbor Casino and Hotel did not materialize in its first days reopened after four months of extraordinary shutdown.

Wynn Resorts officials were not expecting crowds.

They weren’t disappointed when they did not materialize.

What the economy could never have done on its own, was achieved by the virulence of the COVID-19 virus.

Everything about running and managing the sprawling casino and hotel has become far more complicated and costly as a result of state restrictions imposed upon it in order to opens its doors again. Nevertheless, casino executives were pleased with the reopening.

While not robust, it marked a smooth return from the odious nothingness of four months closed, to the slots and other games generating desperately needed income.

Where there are gamblers, there is hope.

However, news from the city of Springfield about MGM’s renegotiation with the city of its host agreement sent shudders through the corridors of Everett City Hall.

The mayor did not respond to our requests to shed more light about the situation here.

Is Wynn Resorts preparing to enter into a renegotiation of the host agreement with the city? Has the company already started such a procedure?

We have noted several times that Wynn Resorts owes the city about $13 million in host agreement in lieu of tax payments. No room tax payments have been made, either.

The reopened Encore Boston Harbor casino on July 13. (Photo By Jim Mahoney)

Also, Wynn Resorts has yet to make a payment on time to the city since opening officially in June 2019.

The four-month shutdown does not appear to have motivated Wynn Resorts to meet their obligations. The exact opposite is true.

“Wynn Resorts is just like every other corporation that must meet its obligations to its bankers, shareholders and bond holders first and to everyone else, second,” said an executive with the firm who wished to remain unnamed.

“It is unnatural to expect Wynn Resorts to come up with payments due to the city if the business hasn’t taken in any money in four months,” he added.

Since the closure in March, Wynn Resorts had been paying about $7 million a day to maintain its properties in Everett, Macao, and Las Vegas.

Until the end of June, Wynn Resorts paid its employees. The coming of July led to about 3,000 furloughs.

About 2,000 have been brought back to facilitate the opening, according to company sources.

Restrictions on capacity include a number based on employees and patrons – somewhere in the 2,000 range.

The reopened Encore Boston Harbor casino on July 13. (Photo By Jim Mahoney)

Such restrictions are considered a detriment to doing business unable to be over- come in the short term.

MGM Springfield has been facing the same set of constraints.

MGM approached Springfield officials about renegotiating its host community agreement in March when it closed, according to City Solicitor Edward Pikula. MGM is looking to reduce, or at least delay, payments it’s obligated to make under a host community agreement. Talks are on hold until both sides know how busi- ness will bounce back.

Oddly enough, MGM pays Springfield in lieu of taxes about $26 million a year.

Encore pays Everett $30 million a year.

Encore was a $2.6 billion investment.

Springfield was a $1 billion MGM investment.

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