Wynn Executive Says Encore Boston Harbor Isn’t on Selling Block

Posted on: December 20, 2020, 01:43h. 

Last updated on: December 20, 2020, 02:53h.

Refuting rumors the property is being shopped, Encore Boston Harbor President Brian Gullbrants told staffers the gaming venue isn’t for sale.

Encore Boston
Encore Boston Harbor. An executive says it’s not for sale. (Image: Getty Images)

The executive made the remarks in a Saturday message to employees, saying that reports of Wynn Resorts selling the Bay State integrated resort aren’t accurate.

It has been falsely reported that Encore Boston Harbor is for sale. I want to assure you that our company has not engaged in any conversations about the sale of the property,” wrote Gullbrants in the message, which was procured by MassLive.

The $2.6 billion Encore Boston — Wynn’s lone domestic venue outside of Las Vegas — opened in mid-2019 and rapidly became the highest-grossing gaming property in Massachusetts, easily outpacing older rivals Plainridge Park Casino (PPC) and MGM Springfield.

The Wynn integrated resort got off to a solid start this year. But then the coronavirus pandemic forced a nationwide closure of casinos, and the Massachusetts shutdown was among the longest in the country. More recently, the state’s gaming properties are operating under COVID-19 restrictions, protocols that are hampering visitation and gross gaming revenue (GGR).

Not First Time Rumored Surfaced

This isn’t the first time speculation regarding a sale of New England’s most plush commercial casino have surfaced.

In the wake of Wynn founder Steven Wynn’s departure from the company in early 2018 amid a raft of sexual misconduct allegations, negotiations between the company and Bay State regulators grew contentious. They ultimately resulted in hefty fines against the operator and CEO Matt Maddox.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) signed off on the company opening Encore Boston Harbor. But just weeks before the venue was slated to come online, rumors surfaced Wynn was in talks with MGM Resorts International to offload the property. That would have been a tricky transaction, because under state law, gaming companies can hold just one license apiece.

Following a round of furloughs forced by the pandemic, speculation surfaced that Encore Boston staffers felt the parent company wasn’t prioritizing the New England venue on par with its Las Vegas and Macau operations.

Optimistic Outlook

For his part, Gullbrants said post-COVID plans for Encore Boston Harbor are in the works, and the parent company is enthusiastic about the outlook for the venue.

“In fact, we are very excited about and committed to the future of Encore Boston Harbor, and we cannot wait until we are fully re-open, and we have all of our team members back with us every day,” he wrote in the message obtained by MassLive.

Data confirm the integrated resort is an important contributor to the Bay State economy.

The study, “The Construction of Encore Boston Harbor: Spending, Employment, and Economic Impacts,” released last week by UMass Donahue Institute researchers, indicates the gaming property generated $1.6 billion in net new economic activity in the state.

Wynn spent $1.6 billion on construction of the Everett venue, with $1.1 billion of that figure awarded to Bay State contractors and crews, according to the study.