The Encore Boston Harbor Casino and gambling operating company Wynn Resorts recently received Massachusetts’ first retail sports betting license after a unanimous approval from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). Wynn has been in discussion with state representatives to expand its current facility to the company’s 13-acre neighboring plot of land directly across from the main casino.
However, it seems more has been added to the project’s schematics. Originally, the new space was set to serve as an entertainment venue centered around a nightclub and event venue. Wynn’s most recent plans include two hotels, three parking garages, a 980-seat theater, a shopping center, and multiple restaurants and clubs. That’s in addition to the poker room and sports betting spaces Wynn is seeking to include in the 1.8 million total square foot development.
The new plans came to light after the company filed project plans with the MGC for gambling permitting in the new spaces.
Project Outlook for Encore Boston Expansion
With retail sports betting expected to kick off as early as January 2023, Wynn is looking to make its mark in the state and break ground on the development quickly.
The first phase will contain the poker room and sports betting space, and it already has Everett City Council and Planning Board approvals. The MGC must give the final approval before construction on the current plans can proceed. The vote will require a decision on the legality of where gambling is allowed in the city based on the 2013 local host agreement that seemingly confined gambling to the area where the Monsanto Chemical Site once sat.
Despite the fact that the first phase is still awaiting MGC’s approval, Wynn is moving forward with plans for phase two. This phase includes, most importantly, the two hotels and two-story shopping center. Whether or not gambling will be permitted in the new development is to be determined, but Wynn is proceeding confidently and has the support of Everett’s Mayor Carlo DeMaria.
“We always knew they were going to increase their footprint there,” DeMaria said of Wynn in an interview with the Boston Globe. “I’m pretty certain that the 86% of the residents who voted for the referendum and all those who didn’t vote would love to see them expand and hire more people and pay more taxes and create more aesthetically pleasing parcels. We all need to remember what that area looked like before they came and what they’ve done.”
Potential Economic Impact for Encore Boston Expansion
- Phase I is currently projected to bring the city $3.6 million per year.
- Phase II is projected to bring in another $10.8 million annually.
- The Encore Boston Harbor expansion project is also estimated to bring more than 800 new jobs to the area.
Despite Wynn’s projected economic outlook for the development, some locals are still concerned about how the expansion will impact small businesses in the area. The most vocal of whom have been theater owners in the area. Wynn’s 980-seat venue is just 20 seats below the limit for venues on casino grounds as set by the state’s gaming law.
“They’re blatantly trying to hurt other theaters,” Bill Blumenreich, owner of the historic Wilbur Theater, said to The Boston Globe. “It’s all about their bottom line.”