MGC to Discuss if Encore Boston Harbor Can Add New Poker Room

Written By Dan Holmes on February 8, 2023 - Last Updated on February 23, 2023
Massachusetts Gaming Commission to discuss if Encore Boston Harbor can add a new poker room, from

The Encore Boston Harbor East of Broadway development project, which is currently in early stages, may not be permitted to host a poker room even though voters in Everett passed a measure approving additional gaming licenses in the city.

That speculation emerged from Wednesday’s open meeting of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

“Can they have gaming?” asked Joe Delaney, Chief of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s Division of Community Affairs. “Is the affirmative vote that Everett passed in favor of a gaming license in general, or does it limit that license to a particular property or location?”

It’s possible a ruling by the MGC could answer those questions. But Delaney did not rule out the potential need for a second ballot proposal that would specify that Encore Boston Harbor could use a casino gaming license on the other side of Broadway in Everett, on property owned by the company.

Delaney pointed out that however the MGC decides, it does not prohibit Encore from continuing development on the other components of the East of Broadway project.

Plans call for a 999-seat meeting venue, entertainment space, 2,100-space parking garage, nightclub, roof-deck club, and multiple restaurants across the street from the current casino and resort. The new site would be connected to the existing casino resort via a walking bridge that spans Broadway (Route 99).

The MGC previously decided the development plans did not count as “gaming improvements” because no gaming tables or slots were asked for.

Encore Boston Harbor is one of three Massachusetts casinos. It is owned and operated by Wynn Resorts, which is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

What Comes Next?

According to Delaney, who spoke during the Feb. 8 meeting via Zoom call, a public hearing would need to be held to discuss the options of awarding a casino gaming license for the East Broadway facility. A projected footprint calls for 1.8 million square feet of development. 

“(Then), there would need to be another public meeting to discuss the merits of the project itself, and the gaming aspects,” Delaney said.

Reportedly, Encore Boston Harbor would like to plan for a poker room in the new facility, which could be completed in 2024.

“The MGC by necessity must address this issue,” Delaney said.

Encore Boston Harbor has a 24-table poker room in The Loft at the current casino.

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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a Staff Writer for PlayMA with plenty of experience under his belt. Dan has written three books about sports and previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He also has extensive experience covering the launch of sports betting in other states, including Ohio and Maryland. Currently, Dan is residing in Michigan with his family.

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