Winds of change blow as rumors circulate, owes city millions
By JOSH RESNEK
The reopening of Encore Boston Harbor’s casino was expected to begin on Monday. Wynn Resorts officials have moved that off another week.
At the same time, Governor Baker put off casino reopening in Massachusetts for a week, no matter what the private companies are planning.
Wynn Resorts officials are believed to be relieved with the reopening, but it does not go far enough to satisfy executives who know that a casino operating at less than half speed and capacity cannot cut a profit necessary to meet its obligations.
As a result, Las Vegas Sands Corporation, owned by one of the world’s ten richest men, Sheldon Adelson, is apparently willing, as well as financially able, to buy Wynn Resorts and add it to his worldwide gaming empire, according to a spate of casino trade magazine reports online.
Whether or not this happens is highly speculative and based on the comments of several higher-ranking Wynn Resorts employees who have access to inside information.
Matt Maddox, Wynn president and heir apparent to company founder Steve Wynn, has denied such rumors.
In today’s apocalyptic economic environment, everything is for sale at a lower or fairer price.
“The people up top are apparently saying that Encore Boston Harbor may have to be rebranded. This is not anything they want to do at the present time. Spending more money on the Encore investment in Everett to change it is not in the stars right now,” an employee told the Leader Herald.
If everything goes according to current plans, Encore Boston Harbor Casino could be opening again on June 29. Last minute changes and additions to health and safety standards by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, all part of the new normal caused by safety measures the state is imposing, could cause the reopening to be put off a few days or even a week or two.
Shortly, however, one way or the other, for better or worse, the casino will be reopened, thus ending a closure which began on March 15 and which has resulted in tens of millions of dollars of losses on a variety of fronts. When the doors open, the casino operation will be a vastly different venue than before the Coronavirus changed our world.
No poker, craps or roulette will be allowed. Blackjack style gaming tables will be capped at three players, and slot machines will be separated with some sort of barriers between them to protect players from contracting the virus.
The MGC is also weighing occupancy limits, an issue the licensees have raised issues about.
At a fraction of occupancy, Encore, and the other casinos operating in Massachusetts, cannot possibly generate the income needed to meet their obligations and to turn a profit.
Encore’s question to the MGC: “Will reduced capacity include taking into consideration employee counts?”
When exactly the Encore Boston Harbor in our city is going to reopen is anyone’s guess.
If the Coronavirus remains under control in Massachusetts, it seems likely the Encore might be able to open up before the end of the summer or maybe even in July, according to state officials.
How that reopening will look and how it will take shape and form from top to bottom from outside to inside the hotel to gaming tables to restaurants is being worked on by experts hired by Wynn Resorts.
The New York Times published an article Monday detailing efforts being made in Las Vegas by Wynn Resorts and MGM that revealed the extra-human and scientific/medical hygiene efforts to make Las Vegas safe for visitors.
The reopening of the Strip in Las Vegas is underway.
Great crowds have not yet materialized.
Governor Steve Sisolak says he is confident that” every possible precaution” has been taken to ensure that the famed resorts can both serve guests and protect public health, the NYT’s reported.
First came the grand opening of the Encore Boston Harbor in our city in June 2019.
The president at the time, Rob DeSalvio, in an indescribable moment of self-delusion, said the doors would be open forever.
The mayor cried. Everyone on the podium in front of the hotel cheered. The fireworks were launched into the sky. The thick stream of customers flowed into the casino and hotel.
If he noted the opening of this stunning gaming and entertainment achievement on one of the most polluted pieces of land in the United States, Steve Wynn was left to mumble to himself somewhere far away. He was unwelcome at the opening.
Little did DeSalvio know he would soon be asked to leave and then in October the taste of things to come.
Revelations that Wynn Resorts had not paid the city more than $6 million due to it in the form of an in lieu of tax payment got out in the local media.
Company officials reacted swiftly at the time. A check was cut or the money transferred by wire to stop the embarrassment at so rich a company being so late on its payment to the city.
Everyone should have asked why or how such a thing could happen.It was like your richest relative who bought you a car hadn’t made the loan payment, and your car was going to be towed away.
It left you wondering about how rich your relative really is, and whether or not he or she could keep his word.
Encore Boston Harbor’s first year anniversary has been postponed or canceled, however one chooses to look at it, by the coronavirus.