Wynn Resorts to Hold on to Boston Casino Despite the Risk

Mystic River Bridge in Boston, Massachusetts

Despite offers from two rival companies and an ongoing investigation by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Wynn Resorts has decided to go all-in with its Boston-area casino project.

After considering offloading the $2.5bn (£1.85bn) casino project known as Encore Boston Harbor, Wynn Resorts has decided to continue with it and hopefully open as planned in 2019. The company was reportedly approached by Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts about a possible purchase of the venue, but the price point was not what the company wanted, so they decided not to sell.

Taking a gamble

Wynn Resorts will hold onto the property and continue to put money into it while remaining under investigation by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The Commission began investigating the company after the alleged sexual harassment claims involving Steve Wynne merged earlier this year. The former CEO of Wynn Resorts is no longer associated with the brand and recently had his name removed from the license that was awarded to the company for the Boston-area project.

Despite Steve Wynn no longer being associated with the Wynn Resorts, the Commission continues their investigation, trying to determine if the company is suitable to hold the license due to reports that indicate directors and executives of the company were aware of the harassment claims before it became public knowledge.

Wynn Resorts is certainly taking a gamble by holding on to the property. The company was reportedly offered substantially less than they desired for the property by their rivals about a month ago when discussions were held to see Wynn possibly offload the Encore Boston Harbor. However, the company may stand to lose even more money if they lose their license.

If the Commission decides to strip Wynn Resorts of their gaming license, a distressed sale could see the sale price of the property drop dramatically. It is believed that the Commission will reach a decision on the matter sometime this summer.

$68m in cleanup costs

Wynn Resorts hopes to open the property in June 2019. As part of the project, the company had to complete an environmental cleanup along the Mystic River, an effort that has cost Wynn Resorts much more original estimates.

In 18 months, the cleanup of environmental contamination at the site of the Everett casino has cost $68m (£50.3m). The 33-acre property along the Mystic River was reportedly only going to have an environmental cleanup cost of around $30m (£22.2m).

The cleanup process included removing 840,000 tons of contaminated soil and dredging 41,000 tons of sediment from the river located in an inlet offshore. The river bed was then capped with about 30,000 tons of clean sand and a 24,000-square-foot living shoreline was planted by Wynn Resorts to bring the site back to its original condition to support the fish and wildlife of the area.

An additional $14m (£10.4m) will be spent by the company to landscape a 6-acre harbor walk park at the front portion of the resort. Due to the increase in cleanup expenses, the overall cost of the casino project has now been increased to $2.5bn (£1.85bn).

Encore Boston Harbor President Robert DeSalvio said: “You can’t put a price tag on turning back the clock and unlocking a spectacular waterfront park that will bring beauty and enjoyment for generations to come. At every point of our constantly evolving cleanup process, when a decision needed to be made, we went with the option that delivered the best quality and most beautiful outcome.”