Encore Boston Harbor Shares Expansion Plans 

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on December 12, 2022
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US casino operator Wynn Resorts is planning to move forward with the expansion of its Massachusetts casino in Everett.

The Las Vegas-based company has big plans for the land across Broadway from its Encore Boston Harbor casino. Namely, Wynn intends to build an entertainment complex with:

  • two hotels with ballrooms
  • three parking garages
  • a theater
  • restaurants and clubs as part of a development of 1.8 million square feet

The operator also plans to include gambling through a poker room and a sportsbook facility.

But in order to do so, it needs the approval of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MCG).

With the project’s first phase, Wynn has made advancements in local permitting, as Everett’s planning board approved a site plan. Wynn also received the MGC’s first sports betting license last week. Now the company plans to offer sports betting in the casino and eventually the new building if regulators agree.

According to The Boston Globe, the city council could vote Monday on a necessary zoning change to allow gambling to take place there.

Wynn attempting Encore Boston Harbor expansion

Big Night Entertainment Group will run most of the operations in the new building, except for poker and sports betting.

Should everything go according to plan, the first phase of the project would include the following:

  • 2,100-space parking garage
  • sports bar
  • poker room
  • nightclub for nearly 1,000 people
  • roof-deck “day club”
  • 980-seat theater
  • 200-seat comedy club

The block is to be connected to the main casino with a pedestrian bridge over Broadway.

Big Night plans to relocate its Memoire nightclub from the casino to the club space in the new building.

800 jobs and $3.6M per year in new property taxes

In November, Wynn general counsel Jacqui Krum told commissioners that nearly 800 people would be hired at the block’s various venues.

According to Matt Lattanzi, Everett’s planning director, the first phase could generate about $3.6 million a year in new property taxes.

The second phase of the casino project development would bring the city another $10.8 million yearly in revenue.

The next phase would feature two hotels. One would have nearly 500 rooms and the other more than 300. Furthermore, each building would include ballrooms, restaurants, retail areas, and garages with at least 450 spaces. The final block would have a two-story building with restaurants and shops.

Wynn had initially planned not to offer any gambling activities on the new development. However, after receiving the MGC’s first sports betting license last week, the company changed its course.

The casino has already received local approvals from the Everett City Council and Everett Planning Board. As a result, the casino owners now plan to offer sports wagering in the new building as well.

Wynn still facing hurdles

For the company’s plans to become a reality, Wynn must overcome several obstacles.

The proposed expansion made regulators reconsider the 2013 referendum in which Everett voters supported the addition of the casino. There were legal concerns about where gambling is permitted.

As the company looks for a space to include gaming and sports betting, the venue must be regulated by the MGC. The state’s casino gambling law is “silent when it comes to expansion of gaming operations beyond the footprint of the existing gaming establishment,” commission general counsel Todd Grossman said one month ago.

The Commission must answer whether the language of 2013’s referendum approved casino gaming at just the location specified on the ballot. It must also be clear whether voters okayed Wynn’s casino license generally.

Wynn representatives and the City of Everett officials said the possibility of an extension is in keeping with the intent of the voters’ approval of the casino. As commissioners didn’t make a decision at the latest meeting, the discussion will likely happen in early 2023.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for PlayCanada.com. Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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