This week, Nevada’s popular casino operator Wynn Resorts admitted in front of the Massachusetts gaming regulators that its practices don’t always work outside of Vegas.
What happened in Boston?
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) held a public meeting this week to discuss the quarterly performance of Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield. The two integrated casinos have consistently missed their targets for gross gaming revenue (GGR). Encore Boston Harbor is a Wynn property and its president Brian Gullbrants said that the company is still learning about the local market.
Note that Encore marks the first time that Wynn has created a domestic property not based in the state of Nevada. It already has some striking investments in Macau in China. However, the domestic market seems to be a hard trick to pull. Gullbrants said,
“The last thing we want to do is be a Vegas casino in Boston. We want to be a Boston casino in Boston. We want to be Greater Boston’s hometown casino. And we want everyone to come and feel welcome and like they can have a great time there, whether they are playing or not playing.”
What works outside of Vegas?
Wynn’s properties are all about luxury and opulence. The company and its founder Steve Wynn, who recently sold his stake at the company, has played a key role in making the Las Vegas Strip a luxurious and noteworthy destination. The Wynn and Encore Strip is a fascinating example of what the company has to offer. It has replicated the same business model in Macau as well. The company runs two massive integrated resorts in the Vegas of the East and counts only the big-ticket parties as its patrons.
For a brand that depends extensively on high rollers, a Boston location may be a huge challenge. It is actually based in Everett, where people don’t want to spend thousands of dollars in one night. Gullbrants said that the company made a mistake by charging patrons for parking. Now, they have made self-parking free for their patrons 24/7. He also said that the company took the wrong turn by charging for premium buses and boats.
The Encore casino has also reduced the table game minimum to $15 from $50. It now wants to appeal to a wider range of patrons, which reflects the majority of blue-collar sentiment around Everett. Note that Encore is an anomaly in the casino world as it makes less money on its 3,100 slots and more on its 166 table games.