Keller @ Large: State House News Reporters Discuss Everett’s Encore Casino

Keller @ Large: State House News Reporters Discuss Everett’s Encore Casino


COMMUNITY GARDEN AT THE LIBRARY AND RENOVATING INDOOR AND OUTDOOR SPACES AT ST. AMBROSE. IT’S 8:35, AND IT’S TIME FOR KELLER AT LARGE THIS SUNDAY, AND IT’S TODAY. A DEEP DIVE INTO A PAIR OF ISSUES ON BEACON HILL. THE OPENING OF THE ENCORE BOSTON CASINO, AND THE HUGE COST TO OVERALL THE MBTA. HERE’S JOHN KELLER. Reporter: GOOD MORNING. OH, MAN, IS IT GETTING BUSY ON BEACON HILL AS WE ENTER THE HEAT OF BUDGET SEASON AND SO FORTH, AND IT’S THE PERFECT TIME TO DO WHAT WE LIKE TO DO FROM TIME TO TIME, CHECK IN ON WHAT IS GOING ON, AND TAKE A DEEP DIVE ON BEACON HILL, AND WITH TWO EXPERT REPORTERS WHO COVER BEACON HILL ON A DAILY BASIS. KATIE LANIN AND MATT MURPHY, WELCOME BOTH OF YOU. THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE. WE ARE 5 WEEKS AWAY FROM THE SCHEDULED OPENING OF THE NEW ENCORE CASINO IN EVERETT, AND AS WE TAKE THE CONVERSATION LATE THIS LAST WEEK, THE AT WYNN RESORTS WERE CONSIDERING A REPEAL FOR PORTIONS OF THE PENALTY THEY RECEIVED FOR THE CORPORATE TRANSGRESSIONS, AND MATT MADDOX IS PUBLICALLY SPECULATING ABOUT PUSHING BACK THE OPENING DATE. WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION, JOHN. WE ARE REALLY KIND OF IN UNCHARTED TERRITORY HERE. IT’S ONLY THE SECOND FULL-SCALE CASINO IN THE STATE, THE FIRST TO FACE THE SEXUAL ASSAULT ALLEGATIONS INVOLVED AGAINST STEVE WYNN, AND ONE THING WE KNOW FOR SURE, THERE’S A LOT OF JOBS ON THE LINE, AND PEOPLE WHO ARE EAGERLY WATCHING FOR THAT PIECE OF THE PUZZLE TO COME INTO PLACE AS THE CASINO GOES AHEAD WITH WHAT LOOKS LIKE PREPARATIONS FOR OPENING, BUT THERE’S THE CLOUD OF THE FINE THEY NEED TO PAY AND CONDITIONS AND POTENTIAL LEGAL APPEALS HANGING OVERHEAD. YOU MENTIONED THE POSSIBLE DELAY THAT MATT MADDOX WAS TALKING ABOUT, REFERRING TO THE CONFERENCE CALL WITH CORPORATE EARNINGS CALL, AND HE SUGGESTED THE JUNE 23rd TARGET DATE IS STILL IN PLACE, BUT PERHAPS THEY WOULD PUSH IT OFF A FEW WEEKS TO GET EVERYTHING PERFECT. WE DON’T KNOW IF THAT’S ABOUT HIRING, MAKING SURE THEY ARE STAFFED UP, FULLY TRAINED, READY TO GO, OR IF, PERHAPS, THEY ARE EYEING AN APPEAL, AND WHEN WE THOUGHT IT WAS DONE WITH THE GAMING COMMISSION REPORT AND THE FINE AND THE RULING, PERHAPS THEY HAVE ANOTHER DECISION THEY HAVE TO FACE OF WHAT TO DO, WHETHER OR NOT TO GIVE THEM THE FINAL PERMIT TO OPEN THE DOORS IF IT’S UNDER APPEAL. MADDOX SAID, OKAY, THEY WILL PAY THE FINE, BUT THEY ARE CONCERNED ABOUT, I BELIEVE THE WORD HE USED WAS SECONDARY ISSUES AND THE GAMING COMMISSION’S DECISION INCLUDED THE IDEA THAT THEY ALLOW THE COMMISSION APPOINTED OVERSEER TO MANAGE THE FINANCES AND OPERATIONS FOR 3 YEARS. THAT’S UNPRECEDENTED IN THE CASINO BUSINESS, AND MY SOURCES SAY THAT’S THE REAL STICKING POINT. GOVERNOR BAKER WAS EAGER, WHEN HE WAS SITTING HERE A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO TO DISTANCE HIMSELF FROM THE MESS, IT’S UP TO THE MGC, CHAIRED BY HIS OWN HAND PICKED APPOINTEE, FORMER LEGAL COUNSEL, DOES BEACON HILL HAVE THE COMMISSIONER’S BACK IF THE DISPUTE BOILS OVER? I THINK WHAT WE HAVE SEEN, THEY ARE CONTENT TO LEAVE IT IN THE GAMING COMMISSION’S LAP. I DON’T THINK THEY WANT TO TOUCH IT AT THIS POINT AND PROBABLY WON’T UNLESS THEY ARE FORCED TO. I THINK IT’S WORTH NOTING, TOO THAT THE STATE BUDGET THE HOUSE PASSED AND THE SENATE WILL BE DEBATING IN A FEW DAYS COUNTS ON REVENUE FROM ENCORE, AND THERE’S 300 MILLION, ALMOST, IN CASINO AND GAMING REVENUES IN THERE, INCLUDING MONEY THERE THE YET TO OPEN EVERETT CASINO. WE HAVE TO TAKE A BREAK, BUT IN THE MEANTIME, THE MONTHLY REVENUE REPORTS CAME OUT FROM THE MGC, AND MGM SPRINGFIELD, DOWN 15% FROM LAST MONTH, AND PLAINRIDGE, DOWN ANOTHER 12%, AND — BOTH HAD A GOOD MARCH, BUT THINGS TAILORED OFF A BIT. AND ONCE EVERETT OPENS, AS ONCE SAID, YOU’RE GOING TO HEAR A GIANT SUCKING SOUND.

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