To Top

Second Encore Boston Harbor Expansion Hearing Plays Same Old Song

Written By Derek Helling on June 7, 2023
encore boston harbor casino in massachusetts is considering an expansion that regulators are getting public comment on

If you made a custom bingo card for the second Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) hearing on the potential expansion of Encore Boston Harbor, you probably blacked out that card pretty quickly. The hearing resulted in everything these public forums usually deliver.

Ultimately, it just means that Wynn Resorts has work to do in order to make its plans to expand happen. While that was always going to be the case, Tuesday’s hearing identified exactly what Wynn should focus on.

Locals decry Encore Boston Harbor expansion again

Dan Holmes of PlayMA shares that the people who submitted written comments or took part in a Tuesday open meeting were the usual commenters — Encore employees, Everett residents, and a labor leader.

Wynn wants to erect a new facility across Broadway Avenue that would include new amenities and gaming. Among the amenities would be additional parking, dining options and a theater.

UNITE Here Local 26 President Carlos Aramayo reiterated that the union representing Encore workers is not yet comfortable with the project. That hasn’t changed from the first hearing on this topic in April. Aramayo simply stated that Encore and the union have not yet agreed to specific terms for workers if the expansion moves forward.

Other commenters shared concerns on pollution and traffic around the casino expansion. Multiple Everett residents shared that they would like to see a citywide referendum on the subject of casino expansion. At this point, however, there are no plans for such a vote.

Additionally, an Encore employee stated that her compensation has not kept up with increases in the cost of living and that she makes less than her counterparts at Wynn’s Las Vegas casino. That pay disparity between Wynn’s properties claim seems to have some merit according to compensation listings at Glassdoor and ZipRecruiter.

It’s typical for people with criticisms to take part in hearings like this. Negative sentiments tend to provide more motivation to put in the effort to participate as compared to positive feelings. At the same time, this doesn’t mean the expansion is even unlikely to occur.

It does mean that Wynn knows exactly what it needs to address, though.

The obstacles to Encore expansion

Wynn doesn’t need to sway all minds toward favoring its expansion plans. It just has to convince the right people.

Outside of the MGC, those minds include members of Everett’s city government. Richard N. Velotta of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that one member of Everett’s City Council, Darren Cota, has expressed a desire for Everett to renegotiate its contract with Wynn.

That could address some of the concerns that the hearing featured. The issues are not new. For example, a 2019 study that the neighboring City of Somerville commissioned detailed traffic congestion issues around the casino.

Wynn says it is trying to alleviate traffic concerns by improving ways to access the casino without an automobile. At the same time, the parking expansion suggests the casino is also making accommodations for more vehicles.

Nothing has yet occurred in these proceedings that Wynn probably didn’t expect. In order to keep things moving along just as the casino operator hopes, though, it needs to get out ahead of the issues.

Photo by PlayUSA
Derek Helling Avatar
Written by
Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

View all posts by Derek Helling
Privacy Policy