Encore president says casino will open on time

Regulators approve drinks for gamblers until 4 a.m.

THE TOP OFFICIAL at Encore Boston Harbor told state regulators on Wednesday that the Everett hotel and casino will open on schedule at 10 a.m. June 23. It will also be allowed to serve complimentary alcoholic drinks to active gambling customers until 4 a.m., thanks to a ruling by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

The opening plans announced by Robert DeSalvio put to rest all the hemming and hawing coming out of the Wynn Resorts corporate headquarters in Las Vegas, where President and CEO Matt Maddox had previously indicated the opening might be delayed by one or two weeks. He had also considered selling the casino to MGM Resorts, but those plans were dropped by both parties on Tuesday.

While the opening appears to be a go, there was still no word on when Wynn Resorts will comply with the terms laid out by the Gaming Commission for the company to retain its Massachusetts casino license – a $35 million corporate fine, a $500,000 fine on Maddox, executive coaching for Maddox, and an independent monitor who would set a number of human resource policies. All of the terms arose out of a lengthy investigation by the Gaming Commission into the company’s handling of Steve Wynn’s sexual misconduct.

Maddox earlier this month told financial analysts that he may challenge some of the “secondary and tertiary conditions imposed by the commission.” He said he did not think an appeal of some of the conditions would prevent the casino from opening.

At Wednesday’s meeting of the Gaming Commission, the vote was 4-1 in favor of allowing the casino to serve complimentary drinks to active gamblers from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. The lone no vote came from Commissioner Eileen O’Brien. Boston officials had also urged a no vote.

Most of the commissioners approved the extended timing after being assured that protocols are in place for limiting alcohol consumption (no more than 1 ounce per drink and no more than three drinks per hour) and for monitoring to make sure no gambler has overdone it.

Law enforcement and Gaming Commission officials said there have been no serious problems so far at the MGM Resorts casino in Springfield, which has been serving alcohol to active gamblers until 4 a.m. since it opened.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Jacqui Krum, a vice president at Encore Boston Harbor, assured the commissioners that between wait staff, security officials, and video monitoring employees there will be lots of safeguards in place to check for over-consumption of alcohol.

“This building has eyes on it like nowhere else,” she said.