Potential sale is discussed
The Encore Boston Harbor is a casino project in Everett, Massachusetts, scheduled to open in late June by Wynn Resorts. The casino cost $2.6bn (£2.0bn) to create and has faced scrutiny over the past few months. The property faced losing its license due to sexual misconduct allegations against the former founder of the company Steve Wynn. However, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission ruled that Wynn could keep the license, while imposing a $35m (£27.5m) fine.
Now it seems the venue might be sold, based on recent reports. Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International announced that they have discussed the possible sale. The talks will have no impact on the opening of the casino.
The two casino operators released a joint statement announcing that preliminary talks have taken place. MGM Resorts International currently owns the MGM Springfield and would not be allowed to operate two casinos in the state, so the company would have to sell its Springfield property to operate the Encore.
Both companies stated that they cannot say where the conversations regarding the property will lead but they reaffirmed their commitment to the communities where they operate. They also stated that their discussions involving the casino will not impact the employment of individuals in either facility.
Everett officials concerned
The news of a possible sale has Everett city officials concerned. Under a 2013 agreement, Wynn Resorts and Everett cannot transfer their rights or obligations involving the casino without prior written authorization from the other party.
Therefore, the issue would be whether or not officials in Everett would support a sale and let the agreement with the city be transferred to another entity. Though the discussions are in the early stages, they are still a concern to the city of Everett.
Ward 6 representative and City Councilor Michael J. McLaughlin said: “It’s very concerning and alarming to myself as a city councilor, but also as a strong supporter of Encore Boston Harbor from the beginning. It’s too premature to make a sound decision because there’s so many moving parts that need to occur before I feel could actually take place.”
Retaining Massachusetts license
The news of the potential sale comes right after Wynn Resorts was fined $35m by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for concealing allegations of sexual misconduct during the bidding process for the Everett casino. According to VSO News, the company was allowed to retain its license to operate the casino despite the massive fine.
In January 2018, the project in Massachusetts was threatened due to a report by the Wall Street Journal detailing the allegations against Steve Wynn, the former CEO and Wynn Resorts founder. Wynn resigned soon afterward and the company did its best to distance themselves from him.
The development of the Encore Boston Harbor had already started but the license to operate the venue was at risk. The company had paid a financial $7.5m (£5.9m) in 2005 to a woman who was allegedly pregnant by Wynn. The financial settlement was not made known during the licensing process. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission then began a review which resulted in the company retaining the license but having to pay the large fine for the concealment.