By JOSH RESNEK
The roll-out of the anti-virus vaccines can’t come soon enough for Encore of Everett.
In Las Vegas, the Encore
Hotel and Casino there is being retrofitted into a mass inoculation site.
There is no official talk about such a thing happening here in Everett.
It is a possibility.
The sooner the entire population is vaccinated, the sooner business and especially the gaming business can get back to normal.
What exactly the new normal will be is anyone’s guess right now, but there is the assurance it will be better than what came before in 2020.
With December 2020 figures published by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission late last week, it was revealed Encore’s revenues rose slightly – about $1.8 million over November’s take.
The total take was $29.2 million, up from November’s reported figure of $27.3.
What a difference a year can make.
In December 2019, Encore took in its record high of $54 million.
The pandemic and the restrictions placed against large gatherings inside casinos have closed the hotel for months.
Gambling has been crippled on the gaming floors with near to impossible social distancing conditions for successful gaming operations.
These two unforeseen disasters have vastly decreased revenues for the city of Everett as well as for the Massachusetts State Treasury. The impact has been felt in both places.
Everett has lost nearly a year’s worth of room tax revenues estimated at $5 million.
State tax revenues from Encore have been cut in half. December 2020 tax receipts from the Encore casino totaled $7.3 million compared with 2019 same month tax receipts that totaled $$13.5.
Everett’s return from state revenues is also down dramatically.
Also, in question is Encore’s ability and desire to continue paying the city $30 million yearly in lieu of taxes when the casino giant can’t make ends meet.
With the virus now running out of control, and the vaccination schedule up in the air without enough vaccine to go around, the city and the state as well as Encore are facing months of uncertainty.
The 5,000 strong workforce at Encore has been decimated.
Although Encore does no reveal exact employment statistics, the 5,000 person workforce has been reduced to about 800, according to Encore employees who wish to remain unnamed.
When the casino and hotel first opened in June 2019, it was touted by executives as a location where the doors would never close.
In April, May, and June of 2020, the hotel and casino were padlocked.
Revenues returned a bit during the ensuing months when restrictions were relaxed.
The hotel reopened briefly and without much success.
When the virus returned with a vengeance in October, figures tanked, again.
Industry leaders nearly all agree, revenues will come back to pre-COVID-19 figures but when and how long this will take are imponderables.
For now, the Encore in Everett is like a 12 cylinder engine operating on 6 cylinders.