Wynn Backs Away From $400M Expansion at Encore Boston Harbor

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Edward Scimia

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Edward Scimia


Last Updated 13th May 2024, 02:22 PM

Wynn Backs Away From $400M Expansion at Encore Boston Harbor

Plans to transform the land around Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, Massachusetts, into a major casino-resort expansion appear to have fallen apart. (Image: Wangkun Jia/Alamy)

Wynn Resorts has put a $400 million expansion on hold at its Encore Boston Harbor casino, saying that it has reached an impasse in its negotiations over how much the company should pay to the city of Everett, Massachusetts, for the new project.

Announcement of the decision came during a Tuesday earnings call, when Wynn CEO Craig Billings told investors that the company would refocus its efforts elsewhere.

“We have put this development on hold for the time being because we have been unable to reach an agreement with local authorities on certain financial terms,” Billings said on the call. “Though it is disappointing, we have numerous other development projects globally where we can redirect the capital we intended to deploy in Boston. 

Encore Expansion Included Sportsbook, Theater, Parking Lot

Neither Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria nor Wynn Resorts has disclosed the numbers under dispute. But it is known that the city of Everett wants to increase the payments it receives from Wynn for the Encore Boston Harbor facility if the new project is built. 

According to city records, Wynn paid a $30 million fee even before the facility opened in 2019. In addition, the company makes annual payments in lieu of taxes. Those payments reached $26.9 million in 2024. The casino also pays meal and room taxes on top of that amount. 

Wynn’s expansion of the facility would have entailed building a 60-foot-tall building across the street from the casino itself. The new building would have areas for sports betting and poker, as well as a nightclub, a theater that would seat nearly 1,000 guests, and a comedy club. The company also planned to build a new parking garage with more than 2,000 spaces. The new areas would be connected to the casino by a walking bridge over Broadway in Everett. 

Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor Timeline

  • Sept. 2014: Wynn Resorts wins Massachusetts casino license
  • April 2019: Massachusetts Gaming Commission fines Wynn $35 million for failing to disclose sexual misconduct allegations against Steve Wynn
  • June 2019: Encore Boston Harbor opens
  • Late 2021: Wynn files expansion plans with city of Everett on 13 acres of land across the street from Encore Boston Harbor 
  • Early 2022: Wynn pauses expansion plans to reconsider development strategy
  • Late 2022: Wynn changes expansion plans to include poker room, sportsbook
  • Dec. 2022: Wynn sells land around Encore Boston Harbor to Realty Income Corp. for $1.7 billion. Wynn continues to operate casino, paying $100 million annually in rent 
  • May 2024: Wynn pauses plans for Encore Boston Harbor expansion, citing inability to reach financial terms with city of Everett

Both Sides Say Future Expansion Could Still Happen

In 2022, Everett city officials said they expected an extra $3.6 million in payments from the expanded facility, according to the Boston Globe. The city had also hoped that the development could spark more renovations in the Lower Broadway area. 

DeMaria says he still wants to see that happen, but that the current terms offered by Wynn aren’t acceptable.

“Earnings for Wynn from Encore continue to be positive and I welcome their interest in expanding operations with the East of Broadway proposal,” DeMaria said in a statement. “I am glad that business is good at Encore, but I am in the business of reaching the best deal for the residents of my hometown.”

While the project may be on hold for now, both sides say that negotiations remain active, suggesting that the expansion could still occur if Wynn and the city can come to an agreement. For now, real money online casinos are also on hold in Massachusetts. 

“We remain optimistic about the project fulfilling the city’s and our shared goal of developing an exciting and vibrant destination district on Lower Broadway,” Wynn said in a statement. “However, it has become apparent that we are unable to negotiate an agreement with the city of Everett regarding property taxes, impact fees and infrastructure improvements in a timely fashion. Until these issues are addressed with a financially viable resolution we have a responsibility to our shareholders, and cannot continue to incur project costs.”

Meet The Author

16 Years
Edward Scimia
Edward Scimia
Journalist Journalist

Ed Scimia is a freelance writer who has been covering the gaming industry since 2008. He graduated from Syracuse University in 2003 with degrees in Magazine Journalism and Political Science. In his time as a freelancer, Ed has worked for About.com, Gambling.com, and Covers.com, among other sites. He has also authored multiple books and enjoys curling competitively, which has led to him creating curling-related content for his YouTube channel "Chess on Ice."

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