Wynn Reopening Plan Nixes Poker, Features Enhanced Craps Exclusivity in Boston

Posted on: May 16, 2020, 01:17h. 

Last updated on: May 17, 2020, 10:14h.

As Wynn Resorts forges ahead with efforts to reopen its three US gaming properties, poker won’t be available at those venues. The operator said it will employ social distancing protocols aimed at preventing a second wave of coronavirus cases.

No Poker At Wynn When Reopen
Wynn won’t be offering poker at its US properties when they reopen and craps in Boston will cost a lot more. (Image: New York Times)

Craps players visiting Encore Boston Harbor – Wynn’s newest casino – will also face encumbrances. The popular table game known for players blowing on dice, requiring multiple dealers, and bringing gamblers into close contact with each other – all no-no’s in today’s COVID-19 world – will be confined to the property’s high rollers area.

Efforts to temporarily halt poker action at the Wynn and Encore on the Las Vegas Strip and Encore Boston Harbor appear to jibe with a 23-page reopening plan released by the company last month. In that document, the operator outlines an eight-step poker area cleaning and sanitizing protocol, while noting the game will be available in “a later phase of reopening.”

We don’t in any way want to do anything we can’t execute as safely as possible,” said Encore Boston Harbor President Brian Gullbrants in an interview with Bloomberg Radio.

On Friday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) extended the shutdown of the Bay State’s three casinos to June 1, stoking speculation that gaming properties there will be the last to reopen in the US.

Poker Halt Not a Huge Deal

Financially speaking, going without poker for awhile won’t bring a significant dent to Wynn’s top and bottom lines. Casinos generate profits from poker via the “rake,” which is essentially a tax on each hand played – usually two percent to 10 percent.

Even on large hands, poker isn’t the cash cow for operators that slots are, and the game’s profitability lags beyond other table offerings, such as blackjack and roulette.

Some studies suggest there aren’t intimate correlations between a casino’s rake and slot coinage or hold from other table offerings. That indicates that many poker players are visiting gaming properties exclusively for that game and frequently don’t indulge in other activities.

Boston Craps Impact

How Wynn’s decision to limit craps to the high rollers area affects Encore Boston Harbor’s bottom line remains to be seen. However, there have been signs that in just under a year of operation, the venue isn’t yet attracting well-heeled gamblers on par with the company’s Las Vegas and Macau integrated resorts.

Last November, about five months after Encore Boston Harbor opened, executives there lowered table game minimums to $15 per hand from $50, acknowledging that the Vegas way of doing business doesn’t always work in other markets.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the venue has been closed for two of its nearly 12 months of existence, making it difficult for Wynn to effectively ramp up the property. Still, in short order, Encore Boston Harbor became the highest revenue generator among the Bay State’s three casinos.