Wynn ouster, pandemic turned tide on Encore

By JOSH RESNEK

The casino gambling business is all about the ability to generate enormous amounts of cash from gambling and benefiting from the travel business with hotels.

It is a simple, time-worn, tried, and true matrix.

Wynn Resorts is the world’s leading champion of casino gaming.

It’s five-star hotels are truly among the world’s great travel industry wonders.

The five-star hotel and casino in Everett has never lived up to the early expectations that Wynn founder Steve Wynn had for the site.

Wynn believed Encore in Everett would be his piece de resistance, the crowning touch to his spreading gambling empire, as well as another rung on his high-end hotel ladder.

The problem with gangster interests in the land site caused a great deal of negative chatter about the project.

The license not delivered to Encore until it had paid a $35 million fine to the state for “wrongdoing” several days before the place opened hurt the integrity of the project and affected as well the integrity of the state’s gaming commission and everyone involved. – lawyers, investigators, the State Police, and the FBI.

A series of lawsuits are now ongoing and very much active and related directly to the Encore license award as the suitable party by MGC.

In the beginning, we all should have known the original iteration of this huge $2.6 billion investment in Everett would not be up to snuff when Steve Wynn was forced out of his company.

The dream for what the place might have become died right there. When Wynn was defrocked by allegations made against him in the Wall Street Journal everything changed about this investment overnight.

We come to realize that only Wynn himself had the personal power and clout in the gaming world to put Everett over the top.

Also underestimated was the staying power and continued draw of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.

Those two destinations have remained strong even with Encore coming online and despite the pandemic.

Everett’s Encore has devolved into nothingness since March.

This is through no fault of its own.

Who could have predicted a virus would shut down the hotel and ruin gaming

with severely compromised operating hours designed for failure?

The major miscalculation in the Encore business model is that the expectations never met the challenge of what happened when the doors opened.

The clientele was expected to be high-end gamblers from around the world converging on Boston/Everett in numbers great enough to fill the five-star hotel and to crowd the gaming tables in the five-star casino.

This has never materialized.

What Encore executives are now coming to grips with is this – such a scenario might never materialize – virus or no virus.

Some of us who watch the comings and goings in real-time, on-site, at the casino watch men and women wearing Bruins shirts and Red Sox caps, or Brady football shirts with sneakers and sandals arriving by car at the front door to the hotel.

The great throngs of heavy hitters never came to be.

Hotel rates for rooms and suites were slashed early on when they failed to fill. Mind you, these are the most lavishly outfitted rooms in New England.

Encore executives understood early on that New England isn’t Macau or Las Vegas, that a splendorous Encore with all its gaudiness and colorful splash in Everett would take some kind of marketing genius to achieve what it set out to be.

Now comes word that Encore might be up for sale.

Disconcerting at the least for the city of Everett.

Disastrous at the worst.

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