Encore Gaming Numbers Continue to Grow, Though Slots Remain ‘Soft’

Nearly $400 million was wagered at Encore Boston Harbor in August, with a strong showing on table games once again, but a continuing “soft” performance on the sea of slot machines at the resort.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) released its August numbers on Monday, and found that Encore outpaced the two other casinos in the state by a longshot, bringing in $52.8 million in Gross Gaming Revenues for the month. That was nearly $4 million more than their number in July.

The total wagered for August was $391.47 million (a number that consists of the total coin-in wagered on the slots and the revenues from table games).

The numbers were built on another strong performance on the table games, where Encore logged $32.2 million in revenues for August, which was nearly $5 million over July’s number – which was considered very strong.

At the same time, the slot numbers continued to waver.

The total revenues on the slots actually declined by around $1 million from July’s numbers, but that was mainly because Encore loosened the levers by nearly 3 percent. They went from 91.9 percent payout on the slots, to 94.4 percent this month.

The revenues were down to $20.2 million in August, which was down from $21.15 million in July – though the payout was higher on the machines in August.

Encore President Bob DeSalvio acknowledged the low performance on slots at the MGC meeting on Thursday, Sept. 19. He said they are trying to figure out what might be keeping players from hitting the slots harder.

“As of right now, actually, we’re making a few new tweaks on the floor,” he said. “The slot business has been soft. We’re looking at everything for that product. Pare are used to a certain type of equipment. We have a brand new slot product. As the products change, people might come in and it can look different to them. We’re going to change the mix on the floor and some of the games that are more popular and do some conversions and swap outs.”

•Overall, DeSalvio told the MGC that the opening of the resort has gone as well, or better, than any he has been involved with.

He credited Wynn Resorts with allowing him to bring on almost all of the employees three weeks in advance to train and practice during June’s Preview Week.

“I have to say for as long as I’ve been in the business, I haven’t had an opening go as smoothly as this one did and as excellently as it did in terms of execution,” he said. “That’s a testament to the 5,000 team members that joined us and then opened the resort. It’s a testament to Wynn Resorts  to give us the opportunity to bring the team members on June 3 for a June 23 opening…Most companies would not put the resources or investment into three weeks of training before the resort opened…I think that’s what resulted in such a smooth opening.”

•DeSalvio said the Encore boat service would likely remain operating throughout the fall and winter season as much as it can be expected.

He said they will have to gauge what the weather does to the boat and to their inlet, but they intend to keep it running.

“We are attempting to go year round but that will be weather dependent,” he said. “If you get a huge ice buildup, it shuts it down. We’ll see what we can do to get it going all year round.”

•Encore officials reported to the MGC that Wynn CEO Matt Maddox has chosen his new executive coach and has him under contract. As part of their penalty from earlier this year, the MGC required Maddox to hire a coach to help him learn how to be a better executive.

He has started meeting with the coach and seems to like him, Encore officials said.

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