Roller Coaster Resort: Wynn Applies Uncertainty and Certainty in Run-up to Opening

In a journey that has zero time available for a detour, Wynn Resorts seemingly got off the freeway to smell the flowers last week.

Now, however, they seem to be back on the road to an opening on June 23, with President Bob DeSalvio telling the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) on Wednesday that Wynn will definitely open the resort at 10 a.m. June 23 – with the talks last Friday about a sale now being a distant memory.

Just when it seemed like the road was clear for cruising into the June 23 opening – preparing the building and conducting massive, quick trainings for workers in all facets of the operation – the company announced in a joint statement last Friday that it was considering an offer from MGM International (which operates the Springfield casino) to buy Encore Boston Harbor.

It was out of the blue, and few locally were informed of the new development in the constant roller coaster ride that has been the norm with the Wynn marriage in Massachusetts.

“Over the past several weeks, we have engaged in conversations around the potential sale of Encore Boston Harbor,” read the joint statement from Wynn and MGM – a statement that came from Wynn. “They are very preliminary and of the nature that publicly traded corporations like ours often engage in, and in fact when opportunities such as this are presented, we are required to explore.”

Then, late on Tuesday night, that all seemed to change with dueling statements from MGM and Wynn.

“Wynn Resorts prides itself on the design, development and operation of the world’s best integrated resorts,” read the statement. “At times, world class assets attract the attention of others and our board takes seriously its fiduciary duty to review such interest.  After careful consideration we have agreed to cease discussions with MGM Resorts. We remain committed to opening and operating Encore Boston Harbor as only Wynn Resorts is able to do.”

It was as if the company risked it all on a roll of the dice, lost it all, and then won it all back.

The matter became quite stressful because the talk of a sale gets into murky, and time consuming territory.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) said it was preparing for a June 23 opening despite any talk of a sale. They said the $35 million fine for the company, the $500,000 fine for CEO Matt Maddox, and the other stipulations for training and the like continue to stand.

“The Commission’s written decision stands,” read a statement from the MGC. “The deadline for fine payment and notice of appeal is May 31. The MGC continues to focus its efforts on the significant amount of regulatory preparations required before Encore’s opening.”

The MGC also provided a list of things that would be required under law in order to sell such a property under state law – all of which add up to a lengthy process that could include the purchaser re-applying for the gaming license. At a minimum, written notice has to be given and a number of hearings and meetings must take place that look like they could take as long as six months. Likewise, one operator cannot own more than one license in the state.

Just how much of the former sale talk is inside baseball that has a purpose few will ever know, and how much of it was a real possibility, is hard to gauge at this point.

Few, it seems, know anything about what Wynn Resorts really plans to do.

MGC approves extended 4 a.m. liquor license for Encore

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) approved an extended 4 a.m. liquor license for Encore Boston Harbor by a vote of 4-1 on Wednesday, May 22.

The MGC had discussed the matter at its May 6 meeting in-depth, as well as the other numerous regular 2 a.m. closing licenses that the casino requested.

A comment period was initiated with Mayor Martin Walsh and Councilor Lydia Edwards voicing displeasure with the idea of granting the extension, which is only for those involved in active gaming. The last call is 3:30 a.m.

They can re-open at 8 a.m.

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