Boston Harbor Casino Expansion Postponed Indefinitely Amid Tax Disputes

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It seems the gleaming tower of the Encore Boston Harbor won’t be expanding any time soon. Hopes for the projected augmentation have taken a blow as it has now been indefinitely postponed. This decision follows a monetary quarrel between city leaders and casino officials concerning taxes and fees.

Originally, the expansion was set to broaden the horizons, quite literally, of the casino by an impressive 142,000 square feet. This lavish addition was planned to sprawl just opposite the existing gaming complex, situated in Everett, Massachusetts.

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The news of this postponement was revealed last week during a Wynn Resorts earning call. CEO of Wynn Resorts, Craig Billings, offered his insights into the abrupt halt, both acknowledging and calling it a clear disappointment. Still, there seemed to be a silver lining as Billings assured that the provisionally earmarked capital for Boston could be redirected into numerous global development projects.

The costs were no small feat. A cool $400 million was due to be funneled into the casino expansion, fleshing out the establishment with a panoply of enthralling entertainment options, palate-pleasing restaurants, and flashy gaming rooms. The enhanced facility might have offered a large theater boasting an impressive 979-seat capacity, not to mention a seven-story car park capable of housing over 2,000 vehicles. Poker aficionados and sports enthusiasts would have relished the addition of a poker room and a betting parlor. Even the famed Memoire nightclub was planned to relocate from the core casino building to this grandiose new wing, which a skybridge would have linked.

But as the saying goes, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Negotiations between Wynn Resorts and the authorities of the city of Everett were unsatisfying. In a statement to Massachusetts’ WBTS TV station, Wynn Resorts expressed their lingering optimism for a dynamic destination district with all the trimmings: restaurants, hotels, theaters. However, they confessed their inability to reach an agreement on property taxes, impact fees, and infrastructure improvements. Until a feasible resolution arises, Wynn Resorts must act in the best interest of its shareholders, ceasing to rack up project-related costs.

The stalled expansion also included plans for two fresh hotel towers, expanding Encore’s capacity by an additional 800 guest rooms. Currently housing 671 rooms, Encore often observes a full house on the weekends.

The leaders of Everett, unfortunately, were unavailable for immediate comment regarding the details of the company’s reports.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) have acknowledged the state of affairs surrounding this expansion delay, Executive Director Dean Serpa illustrated their readiness to move forward once further developments arise. A history of delays seems to haunt the casino as Wynn Resorts had also previously halted the permit process in 2022, pondering if the project was indeed the most profitable use of the property as planned.

The notorious Encore Boston Harbor was inaugurated in 2019, an investment costing a whopping $2.6 billion, lending a grandeur touch to Everett’s skyline. As for its future, only time will tell whether this lavish expansion sees the light of day.