Encore Boston Harbor Dominating Massachusetts Gaming Industry

Posted on: May 19, 2022, 09:15h. 

Last updated on: May 19, 2022, 09:28h.

Encore Boston Harbor has been the dominant player in Massachusetts’ three-casino gaming industry nearly since its introduction in June of 2019. Almost three years and a pandemic later, the Wynn Resorts property has only increased its market share.

Encore Boston Harbor casino Massachusetts gaming
Encore Boston Harbor stands tall above the Mystic River. The casino continues to lead the Massachusetts gaming industry and overshadow the state’s two other commercial casinos. (Image: Getty)

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) this week revealed April casino numbers for the commonwealth’s three gaming venues. Encore again led the way. The Boston casino — which is actually located across the Mystic River in Everett — won more than $63.7 million from gamblers.

Encore accounted for more than 64% of the approximately $99 million in Massachusetts gross gaming revenue (GGR) generated in April 2022. MGM Springfield placed a distant second at $22.5 million, and the slots-only facility Plainridge Park was third at $12.9 million.

Encore led in both slot and table win, the Wynn casino respectively winning $34.1 million and $29.6 million on those verticals.

Extending Control

Encore Boston Harbor has placed an emphasis on premium mass players. And the $2.6 billion destination is benefiting from that focus on its table games. The $29.6 million won is more than 600% better than MGM Springfield, which won a measly $4.1 million on its felt last month.

Being located in Springfield, a city that has struggled in recent years with crime and unemployment, MGM often offers table minimums as low as $5 during early morning play. Conversely, Encore Boston Harbor’s lowest table minimums are $15. Prior to the pandemic, the Wynn property routinely kept table minimums at $50 a hand.

While the higher minimums might not be for all, it’s apparently good business. Encore Boston has only seen its market control over MGM Springfield continue to increase.

The 2021 GGR for Encore Boston totaled $634.4 million. MGM Springfield tallied $247 million from its slots and tables, while Plainridge kept $139.3 million from its slots players. All combined, statewide GGR totaled approximately $1.02 billion. Encore’s $634.4 million represents a 62% market share.

Sports Betting Latest

Legal sports betting remains absent in Massachusetts more than four years after the US Supreme Court ruled that states have the right to determine the legality of such gambling. Many state lawmakers in Boston want the commonwealth to join the more than 30 other states that have signed off on allowing sportsbooks to operate lawfully.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed House Bill 3933 in July 2021. Nearly a year later, the state Senate this week took up a debate on sports gambling. However, the Senate’s changes to the bill — highlighted by jacking up the proposed tax rate on sportsbook revenue from 15% to 35% — was quickly shot down by House leaders after the bill was returned.

With the chambers still at odds, a conference committee has been called. The meeting, which doesn’t yet have a scheduled date, will involve key players in an effort to work out their differences.

The Massachusetts Legislature remains in session through the end of July. Governor Charlie Baker (R) says he will sign a sports betting bill if one arrives on his desk.