Everett Residents, Natives Some of the First in Line at Encore Sunday

Traffic and Gridlock Never Showed up as Had Been Expected

Former Everett resident Robert Babikian used to shoot pool only steps from the casino at The Line barroom, and would have never thought luxury could have sprung from that area, so when the Las Vegas musician heard that Wynn was going to put a resort in his former neighborhood, he said he had to be the first to see it.

So it was, right at the front of the line on Sunday was Babikian – giving the thumbs up and ready to check out what five-star really meant at the new Everett casino.

“I used to shoot pool a couple of blocks from here at The Line,” he said. “I would have told you that you were crazy if you’d told me this could happen here. No way. It’s dream come true, especially in your backyard.”

He said he lived in Everett in the 1970s and 1980s and then left for Las Vegas, where he has actually worked as a musician for the Wynn company.

“I had to come back because I lived in Everett in 1973,” he said. “I passed by here all the time. I actually have worked for Wynn in Vegas. I did a couple of concerts there.”

Meanwhile, current Everett resident and Red Card holder Mel Conelison came down early Sunday to see the new resort.

“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “I’m a Red Card member and they sent me this $100 credit. I’m looking for the blackjack tables and I’m going to use the credit and see what happens.”

They were two of thousands who came out, with crowds staying away in the early morning, and then beginning to pile in around 10 a.m.

Encore did not give any crowd estimates for opening day, but many said there were approximately 35,000 to 40,000 people throughout the day on Sunday.

Wynn spokesman Michael Weaver said they had several thousand by noon.

“At noon on Sunday, we had approximately 5,000 guests waiting in line,” he said. “We were able to accommodate all guests inside Encore by 2:30 p.m. and had steady visitation throughout the afternoon and evening. Today (Monday) we are continuing to see strong attendance, both in the casino and in our dining outlets. We are very pleased with our visitation thus far and the overwhelmingly positive response we’ve received from guests about the Encore experience.”

A key missing element on Sunday and Monday was traffic – in that there really wasn’t any. While most in Everett and surrounding communities had been bracing for absolute gridlock on opening day and in the days afterward, there simply wasn’t any real traffic and getting around was quite easy.

“There were no major incidents,” said Dave Procopio of the State Police. “Traffic was mostly moderate throughout the day until about 7 p.m. when Rt. 99 saw an increase in congestion, but no significant delays. The crowds (inside) were heavy throughout the day and night.”

Encore officials said they believed that the thousands that came bought into the alternative transportation plans – a campaign entitled ‘Why Drive?’

“This morning (Sunday) demonstrated that guests will leave their cars at home if they have access to modern and convenient choices,” said Encore President Bob DeSalvio. “In the days ahead, we will continue to monitor traffic closely, but today (Sunday) we want to thank our visitors who embraced alternatives. Dozens of federal, state, and local agencies collaborated with us on plans, and the early results show great promise for the long term.”

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