Encore Boston Harbor Receives Approval to Serve Alcohol Until 4 AM

Encore Boston Harbor has received approval to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. for actively gaming patrons.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission approved one permit for alcohol service and sales between 8 and 2 a.m., and a second for 2 to 4 a.m. for patrons who are "actively gaming."

"That's pretty late, but I'm not shocked," said Leanna Gonzalez of Worcester. "I felt like we kind of knew something like that was going to happen once they approved this casinio to come here."

"I think most of the people are staying there, and so they can drink and enjoy themselves when they're gambling," added Carolyn Fucillo of Winthrop.

Robert DeSalvio, president of Encore Boston Harbor, also said during Wednesday morning's gaming commission meeting that the $2.6 billion casino will move forward with its scheduled June 23 opening day despite this week's announcement that MGM Resorts International will no longer pursue buying the luxury resort.

In announcing its decision Tuesday, MGM said stakeholders have concerns. It owns a casino in Springfield and wouldn't have been allowed to operate two in Massachusetts.

"We have noted the anxiety raised by various stakeholders regarding a transaction and this troubles us at MGM, MGM said in a statement. "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."

Wynn Resorts said it agreed to end discussions and remains "committed to opening and operating Encore Boston Harbor as only Wynn Resorts is able to do."

"Wynn Resorts prides itself on the design, development and operation of the world’s best integrated resorts. At times, world class assets attract the attention of others and our board takes seriously its fiduciary duty to review such interest," the company said in a statement. "After careful consideration we have agreed to cease discussions with MGM Resorts. We remain committed to opening and operating Encore Boston Harbor as only Wynn Resorts is able to do."

The gaming commission is also scheduled to discuss gaming establishment boundaries and a construction timeline at Wednesday's meeting.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh expressed concern that for people who aren't staying in the Encore hotel, 4 a.m. is well after public transit stops for the night.

"I just hope that they enforce the law, that anyone that drinks too much, that they don't leave there in a car because those folks will be driving through the city of Everett, and Boston, and other places," Walsh said. "I just want them to be very careful and make sure they don't over-serve people."

DeSalvio said there will be ride share options, adding that employees are receiving extensive training on alcohol consumption and are given full authority to prevent a patron who appears intoxicated from driving off the property.

"If that case does arise, we will do it, and we'll gladly do it and we'll pay for it," DeSalvio said.

State gambling regulators found Wynn executives failed to disclose allegations of sexual misconduct against company founder Steve Wynn, and levied a $35 million fine against Wynn Resorts last month while letting it keep its casino license.

The company said last month that it's focused on a successful launch of the casino now that the review is complete. Steve Wynn has denied the allegations.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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