Brawls at Everett casino? You bet

3 early morning fights put spotlight on late-night liquor

WERE THE BRAWLS that became the main attraction at Encore Boston Harbor early Monday morning an unfortunate aberration, or is this just the cost of doing casino business?

We’ll know in time. But for now it’s certainly not a good look for the Wynn Resorts gambling palace less than two months into operation.

No fewer than three separate melees broke out at the casino complex between 2 and 3 a.m. The first came just after 2 as patrons were leaving one of the casino’s nightclubs. An Everett man was arrested and charged with assault, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.

Soon after, another fight broke out in the hotel lobby. The police report summed things up as follows: “Troopers from the [Gaming Enforcement Unit] and State Police-Medford located a Lynn man, who allegedly became involved in a verbal altercation with two women, then pushed one of them and grabbed her cell phone from her hand and threw it across the lobby. Further investigation revealed that the suspect allegedly inappropriately touched one of the women.” The 25-year-old Lynn man was arrested on multiple charges.

A third fight unfolded on the casino floor, with a Lynn man slapped with an assault and battery charge.

The nightcap came around 3 a.m., as police were “escorting” multiple patrons who had been involved in the disturbances from the casino, when a man who was “highly intoxicated and continually yelling” was taken into protective custody.

The state gambling commission says it will carry out a “review of the facts and circumstances” of the incidents. The state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission will also investigate, and its director said sanctions could be imposed on the casino, if deemed warranted.

Celeste Ribeiro Hewitt, an anti-casino activist, told the Herald there was nothing surprising about the unrest.

“That’s the business model for casinos: Keep plying people with alcohol so they keep spending. Along with all the other promises they made, they promised to avoid or contain this kind of thing. As long as there’s no robust plan to monitor, investigate or dole out any repercussions, we can expect more of these incidents.”

While bars statewide must close no later than 2 a.m., the casino is allowed to continue serving alcohol until 4 a.m. to those who are gambling, who can also be given free drinks under special rules catering to the casino.

Meet the Author

Michael Jonas

Executive Editor, CommonWealth

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

Free booze until 4 a.m.? What could possibly go wrong?

As long as the $28 million Popeye sculpture wasn’t harmed by the late-night ruffians, we can all rest easy.