Encore starting to roll again

FEBRUARY 25: Encore Boston Harbor Casino is starting to back in the game after a year of pandemic restrictions. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

Renewed energy at the casino as gamblers flock back

By JOSH RESNEK

The difference between January and February’s revenues at Encore was about $3 million more with February marking an upbeat moment in what has been a dismal year.

Weekly visits to the Encore by this writer, and a variety of people the Leader Herald has spoken with, indicate a change of feeling.

“We can really feel a difference in energy,” said an Encore employee who is part of the crew meeting visitors to the casino front door.

“Since the hours changed, things have been getting busier and looking up,” he said.

Encore has gone through the equivalent of a catastrophe here, in Las Vegas and in Macau, where total revenues combined were down a whopping 70% in 2020.

In fact, despite being up 176% in revenues in February in Macau, the revenue figures remain dramatically down for the year.

Macau is responsible for 75% of Wynn Resorts’ revenues.

How Macau goes, so goes Wynn Resorts.

Wynn Resorts stock, oddly enough, remains one of the darlings of Wall Street and of exchanges around the world despite the worst year ever recorded by the gaming industry in modern times.

As the Leader Herald reported last week, Wynn Resorts stock is not yet near a new all-time high, but it is getting there.

This week began with huge gains on the New York Stock Exchange and in all the markets, NASDAQ and the S&P 500.

For reasons only known to the fickle masters of Wall Street and stock trading, Wynn Resorts stock did not move at the beginning of the week, under performing is the term used by investors and analysts.

Despite the markets furiously rising Monday, Wynn Resorts remained at $131, about 20 points off its all- time high.

The convention business the casino and hotel are so reliant upon for revenues is dead…for now.

This situation is expected to change in the next ten to twelve months, according to Encore executives.

Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox believes that by introducing health and safety measures at the Las Vegas Encore, and making that facility as safe for visitors as a facility can be, benefits should accrue.

Maddox gave an interview with the Financial Times in February which indicated he is feeling upbeat.

In fact, by turning the Las Vegas Encore into a vaccination and testing facility during the downtime while it is closed, Maddox has set an industry standard for getting on board about dealing with the pandemic.

This gives analysts and visitors to the casino and hotel a better feeling about what will follow with stringent safety measures in place.

In the meantime, Encore in Everett waits for the science of the pandemic to come in touch with the reality of moving on to a more businesslike standard so the place can thrive.

Encore will thrive. It will take some time.

There is no doubt its monthly revenues will again return to the $40-$50 million range which existed before the pandemic shut the place down and crippled its ability to generate profits.

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