$2.6B Encore Boston Harbor Opens in Massachusetts, First Domestic Wynn Resorts Casino Not in Las Vegas

Posted on: June 24, 2019, 08:55h. 

Last updated on: June 24, 2019, 08:55h.

Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor is officially open for business after a more than seven-year tumultuous process of bringing the casino to realization.

Encore Boston Harbor Wynn casino
Encore Boston Harbor attracted a crowd for its Sunday opening. (Image: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Boston Herald)

On Sunday morning, people lined up outside the Everett property across the Mystic River from downtown Boston to be one of the first to enter the $2.6 billion integrated casino resort. Everett officials, along with Wynn Resorts executives and some of Encore Boston Harbor’s 5,000 new workers, were on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

When you drive through Everett, you’ll no longer smell gas and sulfur and oils. You’ll smell flowers and trees,” Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria (D) told the crowd. “We will no longer be the back door to the city of Boston. We will now be the front door to the city of Everett.”

The Wynn casino measures 210,000 square feet and features 3,100 slot machines and 144 table games, as well as a high-end poker room with 88 tables. The gaming space is accompanied by a 671-room hotel, retail shopping, spa, and public outdoor park along the river.

Encore Boston Harbor is Massachusetts’ third commercial casino to open. Plainridge Park – a slots-only facility – opened in 2015. The $960 million MGM Springfield opened last August.

Encore Opening

Wynn Resorts’ road to opening the company’s first casino in the United States not in Las Vegas was no easy task.

Following the January 2018 bombshell expose from The Wall Street Journal that produced decades of alleged sexual misconduct at the hands of the casino operator’s founder and then-chairman and CEO, Massachusetts gaming regulators launched an investigation to determine whether Wynn executives purposely withheld knowledge of Steve Wynn’s alleged wrongdoings during its 2013 bidding for the sought-after Region A gaming license.

Last month, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) levied a record $35 million fine after concluding Wynn Resorts was indeed aware of the sexual allegations against Mr. Wynn in 2013 and failed to disclose such knowledge to the state. The MGC additionally imposed a $500,000 fine on CEO Matt Maddox – Mr. Wynn’s longtime right-hand man and protégé – for failing to act on a complaint brought to his attention.

However, Maddox told reporters during the Encore opening that the scandal is “behind us,” and “our eyes are on the future.”

Gamblers Flock to Everett

Sunday’s opening brought an estimated 50,000 visitors to the property. Wynn Resorts offered free shuttle buses from Willington Station, Malden Center, and Wonderland Station.

Billionaire Elaine Wynn, the largest individual shareholder in Wynn Resorts and the former wife of Mr. Wynn, said transportation for the grand opening went smoothly.   

I think Mr. DeSalvio (Encore Boston President Robert DeSalvio) made a really great suggestion on how to do this, and it worked out perfectly,” Wynn stated.

The casino stands on what used to be a chemical waste dump.

“Now there’s a thousand mature trees, 50,000 flowering plants, tens of thousands of shrubs, and a living shoreline for the first time in 100 hundred years,” Maddox declared.