Massachusetts Approves Encore Boston Harbor Expansion

Wynn Resorts – Encore’s operator – received MGC’s blessing to construct a new building right across the street from its current integrated casino. The new plans include a variety of fresh offers, including sports betting, thanks to Massachusetts legalizing it recently.

Expansion Plans Get Green Light

The MGC approved the expansion on Wednesday after a favorable interpretation of the 2013 Everett casino referendum. This enabled Wynn to have authorized gaming on both sides of Route 99. The upcoming construction will include a dedicated poker room, a second sports betting salon, a theater, and a parking garage. The “Memoire” nightclub will also be relocated there.

The question of the referendum was whether it allowed Wynn to launch the casino on the Encore Boston Harbor’s site specifically or whether voters had agreed to a general casino license. The details of the referendum are the exact reason why the new casino will only be offering sports betting and poker – at least until legislative changes are introduced.

Wynn has been trying to expand for some time now, and the 4-1 vote of the MGC that gaming is allowed in the vicinity of the current casino is a big win for these plans. The only vote against belonged to Commissioner Eileen O’Brien, according to information from State House News Service. Her concerns were whether the voters’ will was being respected.

O’Brien’s notion is that by enabling this expansion based on proximity to the site that was initially the focus of the vote, this can continue happening. This raises some important questions, one of which is about the future of the gambling scene in the state. As retail sports betting was just launched not two weeks ago, some are wondering: What’s next?

Massachusetts Gaming Scene Growing

Six operators received preliminary license approval towards the end of January. FanDuel, Bally Bet, Betway, DraftKings, PointsBet, and Jake Paul’s Betr received the temporary untethered Category 3 license for online/mobile sports betting. This ensured that come launch day, sports betting would be well taken care of online.

As the question of mobile operators was settled, this gave way for other vendors to start populating the new market in the state. Sportradar received a vendor license on the eve of the launch. Genius Sports also received a temporary vendor license from the MGC, marking another state where the company can operate.

The number of states that offer sports betting has also been rapidly increasing ever since the 2018 repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). As it currently stands, over a dozen US states do not offer any form of sports betting, at least for the moment.