Are you ready for an Encore?

Are you ready for an Encore?

Posted by Encore Boston Harbor on Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Encore Boston Harbor: Are you ready for an Encore?

Non-Indian firms that fought tribes in talks for sale of gaming property

Two non-Indian firms that turned to shady tactics to derail tribes are in talks over the sale of a new gaming facility n Massachusetts.

In a joint statement, MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts confirmed the potential sale of the Encore Boston Harbor. MGM, which already owns a casino in Massachusetts, is looking to buy the $2.6 billion facility, which is due to open in a matter of weeks and is owned by Wynn.

"Our conversations will not impact the jobs at our facilities and will not impact the opening of Encore Boston Harbor," the firms said in the statement. "Regardless of where this leads us, we will ensure that our commitments will be met, and that those who welcomed us into their communities will not be disappointed."

MGM opened MGM Springfield last August after winning the gaming license for the western part of Massachusetts. Under state law, a firm can only own one establishment so it's not clear what would happen to the casino if the sale goes through.

Wynn won the license to open Encore Boston Harbor in the eastern part of Massachusetts. The firm's namesake executive, Steve Wynn, who stepped down after a sexual misconduct scandal, repeatedly bashed tribes as he sought the license.

Artist's rendering of the Tribal Winds Casino, to be owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe in East Windsor, Connecticut. Image: Tribal Winds Casino

MGM did the same to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe after they announced plans to open a new casino in neighboring Connecticut. The firm engaged in a lobbying, legal and political campaign that resulted in the Trump administration keeping the tribes in limbo for almost two years for reasons that remain unexplained to this day.

The tribes are now focused on opening the Tribal Winds Casino in East Windsor. The property will be located less than 15 miles from the MGM facility in neighboring Massachusetts.

When asked whether the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation was interested in buying MGM Springfield, Chairman Rodney Butler, who was named Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut Citizen of the Year, told The Hartford Courant that it wouldn't make much financial sense.

"If I had a car in my driveway, and somebody slashed the tires, and the engine is sputtering, and I want to sell it to you for $40,000, are you going to buy it?'' Butler told the paper. "You’re not. MGM just spent $1 billion in Springfield. You can’t pay what it’s currently valued at because it’s not hitting its earnings.''

Gaming experts also questioned why MGM would want to buy the Wynn property, which just survived a regulatory investigation in connection with the sexual misconduct scandal.

“I have no clue, absolutely no clue,” a former state lawmaker who helped write the Massachusetts gaming law told The Boston Globe.

“Makes no sense at all,” a gaming consultant said.

Encore Boston Harbor, located in Everett just outside Boston, is due to open on June 23. The tribes haven't said when their facility in Connecticut will debut.

Read More on the Story
MGM Resorts, Encore Boston Harbor talks could rile casino waters in Connecticut (The Springfield Republican May 21, 2019)
Why would Wynn consider selling its Everett casino when it’s so close to opening? (The Boston Globe May 20, 2019)
Wynn Resorts Confirms Talks to Sell Boston-Area Casino to MGM (The Wall Street Journal May 17, 2019)
Springfield reacts to MGM talks to buy Encore Boston Harbor casino (The Springfield Republican May 17, 2019)
MGM in talks with Wynn Resorts to buy Encore Boston Harbor (The Springfield Republican May 17, 2019)
Wynn eyes sale of Encore casino (The Boston Globe May 17, 2019)
Foxwoods leader: no plans to buy MGM Springfield (The Hartford Courant May 15, 2019)

Federal Register Notices
Indian Gaming; Amendment to Class III Gaming Procedures for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe (March 25, 2019)
Indian Gaming; Tribal-State Class III Gaming Compact Taking Effect in the State of Connecticut (June 1, 2018)

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