By JOSH RESNEK
What a difference a year can make.
Last July, during its first full month of operation after opening late in June, Encore Boston Harbor reported about $45 million in income from its casino operation in Everett.
One year and one month later, Encore reported $26.9 million in income from its casino operations here.
The casino is open but betting and partying at the casino has been restricted.
Crowds are not materializing because of the virus, travel restrictions real and imagined, and because of the new normal governing life during this, the sixth month of the pandemic.
The five-star Encore casino is operating but without Roulette or Craps. Social distancing is the anti-thesis of crowd creation. Without a casino’s most exciting games, the take cannot possibly maximize itself.
Despite all of this, Encore executives breathed a sigh of relief that almost $27 million was generated by the casino despite restrictions placed upon it.
The state has been Draconian with the casino about what it can do and what it can’t do. The casino has responded like a prizefighter coming out for the bell with one arm tied behind its back to face a strong opponent.
The nearly $27 million in gaming revenues this July is not quite half the amount of gaming revenues earned during the same month last year.
At its optimum, the casino took in $52 million or slightly more in one month twice before having to shut down in March.
The shutdown has been catastrophic not just for Encore.
Thousands of employees laid off are waiting to be called back – hoping to get called back.
July’s gambling income total is not all that bad considering it comes on the heels of a four-month shutdown during which time no income was generated at the facility. Also, the income stream began on July 11.
It also reveals how quickly a facility like the casino is able to generate income as long as the doors are open.
The problem is that Encore had anticipated closer to $60 million a month in gambling income long before the pandemic. That would have come to about
$700 million in income.
During the time it was open month to month before the shutdown, it earned closer to $44 million a month or on a pro rata basis approximately $528 million for a year.
That is a far cry from an expected and hoped for number by Encore executives at least $100 million greater than that amount.