Encore back in business, MGC lifts all restrictions

A lavish flower display in the lobby greets patrons of the Encore Boston Harbor as COVID restrictions are lifted. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso)

Ornate flower display greets patrons, gaming, hotel, restaurants reopening


What a difference a week can make in the life and times of a great casino and hotel.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s erasure of nearly all gaming restrictions at Encore will lead to the reopening of the casino and hotel’s nightclub and will ultimately allow for smaller business conventions.

This should lead to the casino’s restaurants getting back into the brisk business.

Encore’s casino managers have just replanted the entire hotel and casino lobby with more than $30,000 worth of white, red, and yellow blooming plants and flowers in what is easily the most impressive display of its kind in New England.

This was done last week.

The MGC voted to allow Encore Casino and Hotel to get back to where it was before the pandemic caused a serious disruption in its business last week, also.

That disruption caused the closure of the casino and hotel for several months as well as severe restrictions on the numbers of players allowed on the casino floor and the curtailment of certain games.

Encore Boston Harbor Resort. (File photo by Jim Mahoney)

Wednesday, the MGC voted to allow Encore to reintroduce Roulette.

In addition, the MGC expanded Blackjack style tables to include a 4th player position as well as the reintroduction of craps.

All the above, including the relaxed facemask and social distancing requirements that ended on May 29, are expected to lead to Encore’s figures spiking during the next 30 days, according to industry analysts.

Encore’s figures have jumped during the past. Three reporting periods, the last of which was announced by the MGC on May 17.

Encore has generated many millions more in gaming revenues per month since February.

Revenues are up as much as $8 million a month since January.

The MGC’s ruling is consistent with Governor Charlie Baker’s May 17 announcement lifting all industry-related restrictions, effective May 29, and the Updated Mask Requirements issued by the Department of Public Health and consistent with the CDC’s updated guidance.

The Encore Hotel remains largely empty even with restrictions being lifted.

Casino analysts are not certain about the Massachusetts marketplace and how long it will take for tourism and visitation to Boston to reach pre-pandemic levels.

Without that, Encore faces an uphill climb trying to scrape out higher revenues.

The area convention business remains dead with Zoom meetings taking up that slack. However, the MGC’s decisions last week will change all of this for certain.

Time will tell.

It is believed the long-awaited return to normal is going to take as long to re-emerge as the time it took to disappear.

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