Casino limping back to health
By JOSH RESNEK
The Encore Casino and Hotel were intended to be among the largest grossing commercial business investments of their kind in all of New England.
Had the year worked out, the city’s major source of income would have taken in something like $600 million.
Instead, the casino and hotel are vastly underutilized in the age of the pandemic.
The virus has caused the rough equivalent of an earthquake, followed by a tsunami for the Everett casino and hotel, intended to be one of the busiest places in New England, as well as the savior of the city’s hungry city treasury.
Instead, the casino and hotel are largely empty much of the time.
The Everett city treasury isn’t doing that well either.
Now lingering questions exist at city hall about Encore’s commitment to the city after failing to pay entirely, or on time, what it owed the city for several quarters in lieu of taxes.
Doubts have intensified about Encore’s willingness to go on for many years with no income or a vastly decreased amount of income in a world dominated by a new normal.
Encore employees we have spoken with indicate management is pushing very hard for absolute adherence to hygienic and social distancing requirements that have been put into effect.
“You’d think we have all become cleaners,” said one executive who wished to remain unnamed.
“We have all been told if we fail to keep up with the stringent requirements we will be instantly fired. Kind of keeps everyone on their toes,” said the source.
Monday through Thursday at Encore has been a disaster as we might expect.
People just aren’t venturing outside as they used to – and they especially aren’t venturing outside to head into a closed environment like the casino. Tourists aren’t traveling very much anywhere.
Logan Airport has been busier but travel in no way resembles what it used to be just five months ago.
Don’t blame the casino and hotel for poor business.
After all, it isn’t the casino and hotel that are sick.
All sorts of restrictive edicts have cut the interest in attending the casino or staying at the hotel in the hope of snuffing out the virus.
Trying to kill the Coronavirus is a bit like trying to kill cancer with chemotherapy.
The chemotherapy is more toxic than the cancer.
The same goes for efforts to quell the virus.
The restrictions meant to bring back the economy free of the virus are the very impediments to solid business being generated throughout the state, let alone at the casino and hotel here.
The Wynn Resorts casino and hotel model works quite well in normal times.
But as we noted last week when Wynn’s earnings report came out, income was down 98% in Macau.
Domestic income from Las Vegas and Boston were also dismal, nearly matching those of Macau.
Over the weekend, it was reported that the US District Court for Southern California has issued two subpoenas to Wynn Resorts officials apparently seeking information about allegations of money laundering in their Las Vegas facilities.
Boston Encore did not appear to be involved.
The government refused to speak about the subpoenas in detail.
Wynn Resorts stock hovers around $72, down from its high this year of $153.