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Casino Expansion Includes Dedicated Card Room Space

By Leader Herald Staff

Encore Boston Harbor casino. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission announced last week it is carefully discussing whether or not to allow the planned expansion of table gambling from the Encore site on the former Monsanto property

to a site across the street on property not part of the footprint where gaming is allowed by right.

Some months back, Encore announced it was going to build an entertainment venue with thousands of seats and a parking garage.

The MGC learned Encore is hoping to have a dedicated gambling area at that new site.

The caveat – the new site is not approved for gaming.

Only the former Monsanto site is approved for gaming. As part of the original deal that brought Wynn Corporation to Everett in 2013.

The question is, can gaming be allowed across the street at the new entertainment facility?

According to the MGC, that is exactly the question being looked into by commissioners and by MGC lawyers.

Such a question is not expected to excite much negativity on the part of the MGC.

The MGC tends to be a flag waver for whatever Encore wants to do.

In this case, it would be difficult to understand what the problem could be allowing a dedicated gambling area across the street.

Other than the original language of the Everett gaming package, there do not appear to be any restrictions against gaming being extended across the street except that such exact language did not appear in the original package regarding that possibility.

When push comes to shove, it is believed that the MGC, after long and studied thought about the issue, will allow it.

After all, Encore has purchased nearly all the land across the street – acres of land – and should have the right to develop it.

Encore has significantly improved everything it has touched since coming to Everett.

However a lingering question that the MGC neither mentioned nor discussed is how expanding the gaming footprint will change the $30 million a year in lieu of tax payment to the city of Everett?

“Will the city’s in lieu of tax payment be enhanced by this if it is allowed?” asked Councilor Mike Marchese? It ought to be. If Encore expands its gambling beyond the original deal, Everett should receive more money. I will be asking about this you can be sure,” he told the Leader Herald.

In the meantime, the MGC is looking into the legality of the situation with Encore officials advocating for the expansion and the MGC appearing to put the brakes on such an expansion until determining it can be allowed.

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