Wynn Resorts Renames Everett Casino “Encore Boston Harbor”

Encore Boston Harbor - Matt Maddox Wynn Casino Name

The 42-year year old Matt Maddox joined Wynn Resorts in 2002, became Wynn president in 2013, and ascended to CEO on February 6, 2018.

Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox announced that the company is changing the name of its Everett, Massachusetts casino to “Encore Boston Harbor“. The original name of the $2.4 billion development was Wynn Boston Harbor.

Encore is a brand name long used by Wynn Resorts at its casino properties, often as a Phase 2 hotel or casino property added in an expansion. The Wynn Las Vegas and Wynn Macau each have an Encore-branded property on the complex.

The name Wynn Boston Harbor has received criticism from Boston-area groups and Massachusetts political leaders, because it references the founder and former CEO of Wynn Resorts, Steve Wynn. The company founded resigned nearly two months ago due to various sexual harassment claims.

Steve Wynn has filed three lawsuits addressing those allegations, while maintaing that such accusations are “preposterous”.

Matt Maddox Meets with Gaming Commission

During a recent hearing with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Matt Maddox said of the name change, “The Wynn brand is strong, and I understand it, and I believe in it globally. I also understand the cultural sensitivity here.”

The MGC hearing was held to determine whether Steve Wynn’s name could be taken off Wynn Resorts’ Massachusetts casino license. Steve Wynn sold a 12.1% stake — variously described as between $2.1 billion, $2.5 billion, and $3 billion — in the Las Vegas casino company in the past two weeks, severing all ties to the company so recently synonymous with him.

Turning Point for Wynn Resorts

Wynn Resorts continues to distance itself from the Steve Wynn era. Last week, the casino company added 3 female board members. In the press coverage of the move, Wynn’s board called the decision a “turning point”.

Matt Maddox met with the Gaming Commission to describe what has been done to separate Wynn Resorts from its founder. Maddox cited the change of board members and the sell-off of Steve Wynn’s shares, as well as the request to change the name of the Everett casino.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission still plans an investigation into Steve Wynn’s alleged misconduct. While describing herself as a whistleblower, Elaine Wynn, the estranged former wife of Steve Wynn, claimed in divorce proceedings that the board covered up evidence of her ex-husband’s wrongdoing.

Wynn Boston Harbor

Wynn Boston Harbor was pitched as a $1.6 billion integrated casino-resort to be built in the city of Everett. Steve Wynn sold the casino in a variety of ways, including an environmental cleanup of Mystic River. The plan beat a joint venture by Mohegan Sun and Suffolk Downs, which would have spent $900 billion to build a casino-resort in the nearby city of Revere.

Since licensing approval, Wynn Boston Harbor’s price tag has ballooned into the $2.4 billion to $2.5 billion range. Wynn Resorts wants to build a bridge over the Mystic River to add a walkway between Everett and Somerville. Steve Wynn clashed with the mayors of Boston and Somerville over potential traffic congestion, along with payments to compensate both cities for traffic issues.

At the same time, Wynn Resorts performed a massive environmental cleanup not just of the Mystic River, but also the old industrial park on which the casino was built. That is part of the reason that costs increased, because Wynn’s moved whole mounds of earth, instead of simplfy bulldozing the tainted land.