Massachusetts Gaming Commission Places Conditions on Everett Casino Development

Encore Boston Massachusetts Gaming Commission
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted last week to impose several new conditions for the operation of the Wynn Resorts’ Encore Casino in Everett. The conditions were set in reaction to Wynn’s plan to build an events center across Broadway from the casino with an overhead walkway that will connect both structures.

According to MGC chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein, it could take a few weeks before the commission could draft and circulate the conditions but MGC counsel Todd Grossman and the commission’s head of community affairs already had a draft of the seven conditions which were discussed during last Monday’s meeting.

Said Grossman in a statement:

“The more narrow question was whether part four of the four-part test, whether the commission has a regulatory interest in including all or parts of the proposed development as parts of the gaming establishment, would be essentially addressed by way of these conditions. So that’s why these conditions are important.”

Seven Conditions Set by Massachusetts Gaming Commission

Two of the conditions were set to address the commission’s concerns with the Live Entertainment venue, namely to limit the no. of seats to below 1000, in compliance to state laws on entertainment venues built within casinos and to exclude restrictions on entertainers booked to perform at the venue barring them from performing elsewhere in the state Another two required Wynn to submit the company’s building plans and security plans for the planned pedestrian bridge and parking area.

Another condition prohibits employees at the planned development from having access to restricted gaming-related spaces while another required Wynn to submit plans for any future developments in the area to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission ahead of time. Then the MGC required the gambling company to begin its Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) review process.

Phase 1 of Development Project

Under Phase 1 of its development project, Wynn is planning to build a 20,000 square feet of restaurant space, a 999-seat live entertainment venue, a 2,200 space parking area, and a 400-foot pedestrian bridge that will connect the new development to the $2.6 billion Encore Casino that opened in 2019. Two hotels and a brewery or brewpub are expected to be added in the next phase of its project.

The gambling company argued last month that its planned development should not be under the Gaming Commission’s jurisdiction. However, Commissioners said that they were mindful of balancing the MGC’s broad oversight function and the economic aims that are included in the state’s 2011 expanded gaming law.

Encore Boston Harbor Casino Created $1.6B in Economic Activity

Encore Boston Harbor Casino
A study conducted by the UMass Donahue Institute revealed that the construction of Wynn Resort’s Encore Boston Casino in Everett generated an estimated $1.6B in economic activity in Massachusetts. It also created or supported around 2,500 jobs that earned a total personal income of $1B.

Per Rod Motamedi, UMass Donahue senior research manager:

“We found that the $1.6 billion in construction spending created $2.6 billion of total economic activity and the related income and jobs that would be needed to produce that.”

Wynn’s $2.6B Project

Te Encore Boston Harbor Casino cost Wynn Resorts $1.6B to build. However, it is considered a $2.6B project because of the other costs the gambling company incurred associate with it like the purchase of land, licensing fees, cost of furnishing for the hotel and casino, and other non-construction expenses.

$1.1B of the total construction costs were awarded to local companies in Massachusetts. Suffolk Construction got about 27% of that amount or $425.4M while Middlesex County companies took 15% of the construction costs at $236.8M. The remaining $446M spend that went outside Massachusetts was distributed among 36 states while $71M of the total construction costs were awarded to non U.S. companies.

A Cumulative Total of 5.2M Man-Hours

According to the study which was submitted to the Gaming Commission last Thursday, a total of 6,700 individuals worked on the site at some point from the site remediation in 2015 to the Massachusetts casino’s opening on July 23, 2019. These persons worked in a cumulative total of 5.2M man-hours with the average hours per worker totalling 760, or a total of 19 40-hour weeks on the job.

The study says that about half of the 6,700 people who worked on the Massachusetts casino project lived in the Suffolk or Middlesex counties, most of which reside in the nearby communities like Everett, Medford, Malden, Boston, Lynn, Sommerville, Cambridge, and Melrose.

Create Jobs and Opportunities

The Donahue report found out that when the construction expenses of the Massachusetts casino were compared to the economic impact to the state, every $1.55 spent on construction costs created an additional $1 worth of economic activity in Massachussets and created another 0.85 jobs elsewhere in the commonwealth.

When the arguments for building a Massachusetts casino were being heard over ten years ago, proponents talked about the jobs created and opportunities for women and minority businesses that a casino construction project would bring. They also argued that legalizing casino gambling in the state would spur economic activity. Massachusetts’ second full-scale casino accomplished that.