Encore Boston Harbor Sportsbook and Theater Expansion Gains City Approval

Posted on: October 13, 2023, 09:05h. 

Last updated on: October 13, 2023, 09:15h.

Encore Boston Harbor is a major step closer to gaining formal approval to expand its casino and resort footprint in Everett.

Encore Boston Harbor expansion Massachusetts
A rendering of Wynn Resorts’ proposed expansion of Encore Boston Harbor in Everett. Wynn is seeking approval to enlarge its resort across Broadway to build a new sportsbook and poker room, plus a nightclub and theater. (Image: Wynn Resorts)

Wynn Resorts opened its Boston-area integrated resort in June 2019 at a cost of $2.6 billion. The complex is located just north of the Massachusetts capital city across the Mystic River in Everett.

A little more than four years after opening, and dominating Massachusetts’ three-casino commercial gaming industry, Wynn is seeking to expand Encore Boston Harbor southeast of Broadway. The first phase of the proposed expansion includes 142,000 square feet of additional floor space.

Wynn wants to place an expanded sportsbook and poker room in the new facility and relocate its Memoire nightclub from the main resort building. The expansion would additionally bring a 979-seat theater, three new parking garages, and a pedestrian skywalk connecting the expansion building to the current resort.

Encore Boston Harbor presently houses 2,700 slots, 185 table games, and a WynnBet Sportsbook. The casino generated gross gaming revenue of approximately $729.7 million last year, its best annual performance to date. The casino won $634.4 million in 2021 and $331.7 million in pandemic-stricken 2020.

City Planning Board Backs Plan

Wynn Resorts needs a series of local and state approvals to expand its casino across Broadway.

Concerns were raised about whether the 2013 local referendum that Everett voters passed authorized gaming off of the original property. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) determined earlier this year that the referendum that read gaming can operate “… on Horizon Way off Lower Broadway in Everett” should be interpreted to be the general vicinity and not confined to the original parcel.

After the MGC concluded that Wynn could operate sports betting and poker on the company’s newly acquired 17-acre site, Encore Boston Harbor’s expansion application moved forward to city officials. This week, the City of Everett Planning & Development Board voted in favor of the development.

With the Planning and Development Board’s endorsement, the project now only needs approval from the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office. The state agency is conducting a review of the potential environmental impacts of the project. The office is expected to vote on the matter on Monday, October 16.

Cost Unknown

Wynn’s vision of expanding Encore Boston Harbor doesn’t end with the theater, nightclub, sportsbook, and poker room. If the company gains the right to expand across Broadway, the Wynn is pitching a two-phased expansion, with the second development being the considerably larger of the two.

The second phase features two additional hotel towers with 800 guestrooms. Encore currently has 671 hotel rooms, which are commonly sold out on weekends. The casino reported a more than 91% occupancy rate in 2022.

Wynn Resorts officials say they’re ready to invest another $1.7 billion into their Encore Boston facility over the two phases. If both phases are approved and built, Wynn said its Boston workforce would expand by about 800 permanent positions. The company has pledged to make sure 50% of those new hires are women, minorities, and veterans.