Encore to stop paying part-time workers

by Charlotte Lee Last Updated
Man caught carrying drugs and firearms at Boston casino

Recently opened Encore Boston Harbour says it will stop paying approximately 850 part-time workers after Sunday, May 31, furloughing more than 10 per cent of its overall staff.

Casino.org reports the $2.6 billion was forced to close on March 15, less than a year after it opened in June, 2019.

Encore Boston Harbour public affairs spokesperson Eric Kraus says the property has about 4200 part-time and full-time workers.

Wynn Resorts has been paying its workers company-wide during the shutdown of its casinos in Las Vegas, Massachusetts and Macau.

The company says it will have paid employees $220 million through the end of the month.

Commercial casinos are beginning to reopen in certain states in the United States.

Gaming floors are back open in Mississippi, Louisiana and South Dakota.

Tribal casinos, free to rebuff state closures of non essential businesses, are open in numerous other states, including Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma, Washington and California.

According to the American Gaming Association’s casino tracker tool, there are currently 225 commercial and tribal casinos open.

The map shows that 764 remain closed.

Massachusetts’ three commercial casinos – Encore, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park – could be some of the last gaming properties to reopen in the United States.

Massachusetts has been one of the hardest hit states by the coronavirus, with 94,895 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 6640 deaths.

The state’s governor has laid out a four-phase reopening plan.

The state hasn’t even entered into the first phase yet, with residents to remain at home and only essential businesses and services operating.

Governor Charlie Baker said casinos cannot reopen until phase three, the same time as when bars, gyms and museums can restart operations.

Each phase will last a minimum of three weeks.

To progress, the state must experience public health data trends showing a decline in the number of coronavirus patients, hospitalisations, and deaths.

Lottery sales down in Massachusetts

The director of Massachusetts Lottery told Casino.org that the state needs to authorise online games, otherwise lottery in its current form could become “obsolete”.

Michael Sweeney told the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission meeting last week that COVID-19 has expedited the need for the lottery to take its games online.

“Technology as much as it was increasing previously, has really in a lot of people’s estimates, moved forward three to five years in the course of three months,” Mr Sweeney said.

The state’s residents are still under stay at home orders, with the lottery’s current brick-and-mortar format at “significant threat of coming obsolete”, according to Mr Sweeney.

Net profit for the last month was $71.6 million, a loss of $22.5 million compared with April 2019.

It isn’t only state lotteries reporting a drop in play.

Interstate games Mega Millions and Powerball have both done away with guaranteed starting jackpots and minimum jackpot increases as a result of reduced sales.

Mr Sweeney’s gloomy forecast for the lottery’s traditional way of operating shows just how severely the coronavirus pandemic has changed many Americans’ way of life.

The Massachusetts Lottery began 2020 fresh off its best year.

It reported a record $1.1 billion net profit during the 2019 fiscal year.

Revenues also hit an all-time high of $5.5 billion.

That hasn’t been the case in recent months though.

“The lost revenue to the lottery is permanently lost revenue,” Massachusetts Comptroller William McNamara said.

The comptroller explains that while someone might delay a purchase because of the shutdown of retail stores, when a lottery sale is lost, it doesn’t come back.

Though convenience stores, supermarkets, drug stores and gas stations remain open, lottery retailers such as casinos, bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and fraternal organisations are all shut.

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