MGM Resorts International ended conversations with Wynn Resorts over the possible sale of Wynn’s Encore Boston Harbor following concerns raised by Massachusetts legislators
The $2.6 billion upscale resort casino was scheduled to open in the Boston suburb of Everett, Massachusetts, in June 2019.
“We have noted the anxiety raised by various stakeholders regarding a transaction, and this troubles us at MGM,” the company said in a statement released May 21, 2019. “We only wish to have a positive impact on communities in which we operate. We think the best course of action is to discontinue discussions concerning this opportunity.”
The 671-room property was expected to offer 50,000 square of meeting space, 15 restaurants and bars, a 210,000-square-foot casino, a spa and a six-acre Harborwalk.
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To purchase Encore Boston Harbor, MGM would presumably have to give up its casino license for Western Massachusetts, where it operates MGM Springfield. The property opened in August 2018 as the state’s first resort casino.
Days prior to the decision to pull out of talks, MGM and Wynn jointly announced they were exploring the potential sale of Encore Boston Harbor.
They noted that regardless of where the talks led, they would ensure that their commitments to the communities affected by the deal would be met.
Before MGM’s announcement to end discussions, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker expressed concern about both companies standing by their commitments to each community.
“We don’t want to see anything happen with respect to either MGM’s position here or Wynn’s position in Everett that creates a significant disruption for either community,” Baker said during an interview on MassLive.
“Our primary interest is in the thousands of people who work at MGM and what that operation has meant to that part of the city of Springfield, and the 5,800 people who are supposed to start working at the Wynn casino in Everett and what that means to the community," he added.
Baker said he made his concerns clear to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and spoke to local officials in both communities about the host agreements and making sure that the interpretation of the rights and responsibilities associated with them were clear to everyone.
Everett Mayor Opposes Encore Boston Hotel Sale
Before MGM ended talks, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria made his strong opposition to the potential sale clear in a statement published by The Boston Herald.
“If necessary, I will exercise the authority I have under the host community agreement that I executed with Wynn Resorts in 2013 … to block any sale attempt,” DeMaria said in the statement. “The stakes are far too high for us here in Everett.”
DeMaria went on to explain Wynn’s commitment to his vision of creating an entire hospitality district on Everett’s Lower Broadway, complete with restaurants, shops, additional hotels and other improvements.
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He described it as “a vision for transforming an old industrial area filled with scrapyards, used car lots and contaminated parcels, and creating a whole new life for Everett,” along with the huge economic benefits the city would reap from the increase in business and continued development.
“This project was always about more than just a casino; it was developed by a casino company that was known for creating world-class destination resorts,” DeMaria said in the statement.
“In fact, part of the reason that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission chose to award the Region A license to Wynn was because they brought a reputation for attracting international clientele and demonstrated great potential for significant spin-off of economic development within the city," he added.
DeMaria urged the parties to end talks of a sale in the statement.
“It is time for Wynn, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the mayor of Everett to get this facility opened on June 23, so that 5,800 people can get to work and all of our friends in Springfield can feel at ease,” his statement concluded.
MGM Reaffirms Commitment to Springfield
MGM said in its statement it was devoted to its agreement with Springfield and that it looked forward to the opening of Encore Boston Harbor.
“We are committed to our Springfield community and proud of what we have accomplished, including thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of revenue for small businesses in the area,” the company said in the statement.
“We wish the company and the Everett community all the best and look forward to visiting their beautiful resort when it opens and welcoming the 5,800 employees to our industry.”
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