Encore Details Preparation for Everett Casino Opening

After years of construction and public scrutiny, the $2 billion Everett casino will finally open in June. But to make sure they are ready, representatives of Encore Boston Harbor had to face the Massachusetts Gaming Commission Monday.

During a meeting that lasted nearly three hours, Encore's team said it is prepared to handle the rush of crowds anticipated for its June 23 opening.

"It's hard to say you think of everything, but we put a lot of effort into making sure that we could have as good of a situation as possible," said Encore President Robert DeSalvio.

With roughly 8 million people expected to visit the new casino annually, DeSalvio spent part of the morning detailing the company's traffic plan for commissioners. Thus far, they have spent $70 million to improve roadways into the area and will launch new services to encourage customers to take public transit. For example, shuttle buses will be available to take anyone from MBTA stations at Wellington and Malden Center.

"We know it's going to be extremely busy," explained DeSalvio.

State and local police agencies will be in the vicinity to help direct traffic and ensure public safety on opening day.

However, the casino still has hurdles to clear.

Commission members still have to consider a key portion of their proposal — extended alcohol service. Encore executives have asked that they be allowed to serve alcohol two hours later, until 4 a.m. The request would only apply to the gaming floor and for customers who are actively playing, not watching. The move would be allowed thanks to a change to state law in 2017. Last year, the commission approved a similar request for the MGM casino in Springfield.

While executives gave every indication the casino will open on schedule, Wynn Resorts has yet to resolve the $35 million fine state regulators announced it would have to pay for its handling of sexual misconduct allegations against Steve Wynn. Commissioners said the company has until May 31 to pay the fee.

"I'm not going to take any questions on that," said DeSalvio.

The state has opened a public comment portal for residents to weigh in on the proposal to extend drinking hours. A link can be found here.

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