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Encore Boston opens this weekend

Tue, Jun 18, 4:23pm by Staff Writer

Less than a year after MGM Springfield’s historic opening, the state’s second resort casino is set to open this weekend.

After months of turmoil and uncertainty, which included a possible transaction with MGM, Encore Boston Harbour will open in Everett on Sunday.

MGM pulled out of talks to purchase Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbour casino last month, the Boston Globe says.

The $2.6 billion resort was at risk of losing its casino licence, over concerns related to how the company handled sexual misconduct allegations against its former CEO, Steve Wynn.

The company renamed the casino from Wynn Boston Harbour to Encore Boston Harbour in April of last year.

The casino is set to open at 10am on Sunday.

Encore Boston Harbour president Robert DeSalvio says the casino will be offering a range of transportation options to ease congestion, including water shuttles and coach buses.

Boston ready for new casino

Massachusetts leaders hope the resort and its curved, bronze-toned hotel tower – echoing the company’s distinctive properties in Vegas and Macau – transforms the city’s reputation as an industrial afterthought.

“We were ready for something like this,” mayor Carlo DeMaria said last week, putting forth a vision of a thriving waterfront district of hotels, restaurants and shops.

“Everett will no longer be that place where the scrap yards and the used car lots and the power plant are.”

Key to that revival, DeMaria and casino officials say is the company’s nearly $70 million environmental clean up of the 33-acre former chemical plant and its shoreline.

A new 6-acre car park featuring a harbour walk and gardens will give the public access to the city’s waterfront for the first time in more than a century.

Wynn Resorts has also purchased a number of homes and businesses leading up the casino’s grand entry and begun razing then, with promises of future redevelopment.

Casino officials have declined media requests to tour the property in recent months, opting instead to showcase it on a single preview on June 21.

Speaking at his offsite administrative office last week, Encore Boston Harbour President Robert DeSalvio highlighted the attractions the company hopes will make the casino stand out in an increasingly crowded Northeast market.

Much like the company’s other properties, Encore Boston Harbour will feature millions of dollars in original artwork.

A fanciful carousel sculpture made up of 83,000 flowers and 11,000 jewels will greet visitors at the casino entry.

Murano glass chandeliers will dangle from the gambling floor ceiling.

And Koon’s Popeye will stand sentry by the casino’s meeting rooms.

“At the end of the day, people want to come for an experience,” DeSalvio said.

“Our team has spanned the globe to find very special touches. All of it creates a bespoke entertainment experience. It’s a place for people to come back to time and time again.”

With more than 8 million patrons expected to visit annually, DeSalvio also stressed the casino’s efforts to ease traffic snarls, a major concern for long-suffering Boston residents and commuters.

Everett isn’t on a subway line, but there will be free shuttles from nearby stations, a free local circulator bus through city neighbourhoods and coach buses departing from locations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

The casino has also invested in shuttles to ferry patrons from downtown Boston’s harbour front.

Revenue projections modest

Nearly all casinos that have opened in the Northeast in recent years – including Massachusetts’ MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park – have struggled to meet revenue projections, and Encore will likely be no different, said Paul DeBolle, a professor at Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts, who has been tracking regional casino revenue.

He and other experts predict the property will pull in around $600 million in revenues from gambling, short of the more than $800 million the casino predicted in its first year.

State lawmakers have taken a similarly conservative view, projecting it will generate about $540 million from gambling.

The state will collect 25 per cent of the casino’s gambling revenues.

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