ncore Boston Harbor officially opened its doors Sunday, unveiling the interior of the highly anticipated integrated resort for the very first time to the general public. The new Wynn Resorts’ casino was forced to let people enter in waves, because even with a total capacity of 32,000, at times more than 4,000 customers stood in line outside, local news outlets reported.
Totaling $2.6 billion in single-phase development, Encore Boston Harbor is the country's most expensive resort development of 2019. The crowd, which packed the pathways and harbor walk that surround the tree-lined, waterfront casino complex, cheered as dignitaries and a handful of the roughly 5,000 new workers participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony using oversized golden scissors. Puffs of brightly colored smoke could be seen for miles, shot into the air following a countdown. Wynn Resorts expected 50,000 visitors Sunday.
The facility features a 210,000-square-foot casino, a gambling floor with 3,100 slot machines and 231 table games, 671-room bronzed-toned hotel tower, 15 bars and restaurants, shops, lavish art displays, sits on 33 acres of formerly industrial land along the Mystic River in Everett, Massachusetts. There are 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space; an ultra-premium spa; and a four-season, six-acre Harborwalk, featuring pedestrian and bike paths, picnic park, gazebo, viewing decks, waterfront dining. A water transportation system bridges the harbor between Everett and Boston.
“When you drive through Everett, you’ll no longer smell gas and sulfur and oils. But you’ll smell flowers and trees,” Mayor Carlo DeMaria told the crowd, which included many of his residents, as reported by the Associated Press. “We will no longer be the back door to the city of Boston. We will now be the front door to the city of Everett.”
"For the residents of Everett, Everett United and the 86% of residents who took the time on a Saturday to vote yes to a resort in our city, this truly is an amazing day," he added. DeMaria thanked his wife and family for supporting him throughout the challenging process of getting the casino complex built, which took more than seven years. The development project involved an environmental cleanup of a former chemical plant. The project has also been mired in controversy since Wynn Resorts won the lone state gambling license reserved for the wealthy and populous Boston area nearly five years ago.
Casino regulators in Massachusetts and Nevada hit Wynn Resorts with $55 million in fines and other penalties after determining officials failed to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against Steve Wynn, the company’s founder. Wynn has denied the misconduct allegations but resigned as CEO last year. And the company, weeks before opening, negotiated to sell the Everett casino to MGM, but those talks ended amid public criticism.
However, Matt Maddox, the new CEO of Wynn Resorts, recently told the AP “the controversy is behind us” and “our eyes are on the future.” The Everett facility is the company’s first casino outside the gambling centers of Las Vegas and Macau.
During the speaking part of the ceremony, Maddox recalled standing with DeMaria about seven years ago on the property when there wasn’t a blade of grass. “Now there’s a thousand mature trees, 50,000 flowering plants, tens of thousands of shrubs and a living shoreline for the first time in 100 hundred years,” said Maddox, who told AP he envisions Encore Boston Harbor becoming a template for the company’s future and the casino industry more broadly as Wynn Resorts continues to extend its reach to other cities.
"Eight years ago the people of Massachusetts and lawmakers had the foresight to understand that with the passing of the gaming legislation, there could be the opportunity for economic development and the finest integrated resort in the region," Maddox said. "I am here to tell you Encore Boston Harbor has achieved those goals."
"I want to thank each of you for joining us on this beautiful day, including our first resort guests," said Bob DeSalvio, President of Encore Boston Harbor. "To the members of Everett United, thank you, you have been with us all the way from the beginning and I couldn't be more pleased that you are here with us today."
Designed by Wynn veteran, Roger Thomas, Executive Vice President of Wynn Design, Encore Boston Harbor features structural and design elements reminiscent of the Las Vegas and China properties yet remains distinctly Bostonian with the incorporation of well-known local New England provisions and hospitality names. Dining outlets onsite range from nationally recognized experiences from the brand's Las Vegas locations including Sinatra and Red 8 to exclusively local concepts like Fratelli, a casual Italian restaurant from Boston North End restaurant veterans Frank DePasquale and Nick Varano, as well as Memoire, a nightlife experience by Boston's Big Night Entertainment Group. Encore Boston Harbor even touches the city's local sports scene with private box suites at Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium and TD Garden.
The 210,000-square-foot gaming area is divided into two spacious levels, with high ceilings and hand-assembled red Murano glass chandeliers transplanted from their original home, Encore at Wynn Las Vegas. The first floor features more than 3,100 classic and state-of-the-art slot machines, 143 table games and a casino bar centrally located at the heart of the casino beneath a grand staircase.
An 88-table poker room on the second level is flanked by secluded terraces overlooking the gaming floor, offering high-end poker, VIP and private-gaming experiences. Located off the main casino floor, the exclusive gaming area features a total of 53 high limit slot machines, video poker and reel games with betting minimums ranging from $5 to $500, as well as two private high-limit gaming rooms. Red Card, Wynn's loyalty rewards program, allows guests to accrue points and earn comps as they play.