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Encore Casino has many hands in play

The Everett skyline with Encore and Exelon most visible across the Mystivc River. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

Officials ordered to appear at city council to discuss safety issues


Encore officials have been ordered to explain public safety preparedness and efforts to maintain control at the casino and hotel due to recent crimes committed there.

We all need to know exactly what is being done to protect the public at the casino and hotel,” Councilor Stephanie Martins told the Leader Herald over the weekend.

“It is our duty to look into policing levels and staffing and that’s what. we’re going to do,” Martins added.

Since the casino and hotel opened, and during the down time experienced because of the COVID-19, Encore Boston Harbor has been the site of drug overdoses, suicides, stabbings, shootings, and fights which spread onto the gaming floor as well as illegal gatherings in the hotel during the virus crisis.

The State Police and Everett Police have made more than several hundred arrests at the facility since it opened.

Martins is set to lead the public discussion about public safety with Encore officials. The many crime and public safety difficulties indicate policing problems, according to Martins.

She believes that there are holes in Encore’s generally stringent, and for the most part effective, public safety efforts.

It is believed the Everett Police detail has shrunken during the past year and that vigilance is not being maintained.

“These are questions I feel compelled to ask,” Martin said. She said she hoped her colleagues would follow her lead. “This is very important. The casino and hotel must be a safe haven,” she added.

At last week’s city council meeting, Martins made a plea for transparency.

Mayor Carlo DeMaria was not invited to appear before the council with Encore officials to voice his concerns, if he has any, about public safety and how it is managed by the various parties at the casino.

DeMaria takes special pride in bringing the casino to Everett.

He has been careful never to bring about any difficulties he may have or questions about how the Encore is managed, especially for public safety.

In a related development in Las Vegas, the Wynn casino there is turning to protective vests for its security guards as a result of a murder-suicide incident involving two of its employees.

Beginning this week, Wynn security guards in charge of security for its hotels will start wearing ballistic body armor for increased protection due to the murder-suicide at the gaming property where a security guard was shot dead by a hotel worker.

When asked about violent risks at hotels, security consultant Brad Bonnell told in a recently published article, “We are … experiencing across the country something of a strategic shift in policing that has resulted in a reduction in the level of support that the police are able to provide to some hotels.”

“The net result is that we in the hospitality industry are now required to be less dependent on the police for our security,” Bonnell explained. “We now must do more on our own to meet our duty of care.” Nationally, many hotels are employing more contract security personnel and off-duty police officers than ever before, Bonnell said.

The presence of armed and armored security personnel in a hotel also creates a deterrent, he said. It discourages those “who might be inclined to believe that hotels are now vulnerable due to an overworked, understaffed, and underpaid police force,” Bonnell added.

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