Story of the Year is Casino Has Not Resulted in Major Traffic Delays
While the glitz and glamour of Encore often steal the show, the bottom-line reason for the resort landing in Everett was to create new jobs in a new industry, and Encore President Bob DeSalvio reported last week they are near full employment.
With a promise of nearly 5,000 jobs at full employment, Encore is about ready to deliver that very soon, President Bob DeSalvio said.
There are 4,982 people now actively employed at the resort, with 220 employees in the process of being brought on board (with most of them in the gaming area).
At this point, he reported that there are only 64 open positions remaining.
DeSalvio said they are preparing to add more dealers to the gaming floor, which will help with providing more of a mix of table games.
“We’re getting prepared so that when we introduce more tables games, we’ll have appropriate staffing,” he said. “We’re trying to provide more games that customers might be looking for. By having more dealers, we’ll be able to have more low level games that some customers are looking for.”
As it related to diversity hiring during the construction phase, Encore reported to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) its nearly final numbers for hiring.
The resort has been lauded by the MGC as one of the most-diverse large projects in the state, and the numbers shown last week certainly proved the point.
For the construction workforce, they had a minority hiring goal of 15.4 percent, and ended up hiring 25.7 percent minorities during construction. Likewise, the goal for female on the construction team was 6.9 percent and they exceeded that difficult goal with 7.2 percent hired.
As far as contracts awarded during construction, they reported far exceeding that goal, and showed a total of $263 million awarded to minority, women or veteran businesses.
Their overall goal was 11.4 percent, and they awarded 18.4 percent.
“The percentages are not the story,” DeSalvio said. “The story is the number. The number if large. It’s $263 million worth of work. That’s a lot of money. We feel really good about exceeding that goal in the construction phase.”
•WHERE’S THE TRAFFIC?
The biggest story of the update given to the MGC last Thursday, at least according to Encore, was the overall lack of traffic and congestion caused by the casino.
From day one, the resort has failed to produce the gridlock that was predicted for many years, and at the same time the resort’s gaming numbers are showing strong. While many predicted that traffic would pick up after Labor Day, that also has not panned out.
DeSalvio said he was very proud to report that fact to the MGC, which worked painstakingly with Encore, law enforcement and other stakeholders for months to plan out an opening transportation plan.
“The big news is there were no traffic issues,” he said proudly. “I know how much time we spent preparing for this. It was really well executed…As we approach our 90 days of opening, there are certainly no issues.”
The major reason, he said, is that the Encore rush hour does not coincide with the commuter rush hour.
“In the morning, we do not collide at all with the commuter hour,” he said. “I can tell you with 100 percent certainty our customers are not coming at 7 a.m. They come more around 11 a.m.”
The same is true for the evening, he said, in that the Boston crowd has chosen to come to the facility later at night than they expected during the planning.
“The real pleasant surprise is the night crowd is coming later that we thought,” he said. “It’s starting to build up at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. That doesn’t conflict with the commuter hour at all.”
He said they are continuing to promote the casino and hope to make Encore “Greater Boston’s hometown casino.”
“We are still in the ramp-up mode,” he said. “We are working very hard to be Greater Boston’s hometown casino. We are working to introduce our casino to thousands of players that might have gone to other regional resorts. Repatriation is working. We have players from the nearby areas that are enjoying their hometown casino.”
He said they are also now starting to ramp up their international customers, a huge base of players and tourists that the state banked on Wynn bringing to the region.
“They are already starting to come,” he said, noting that the company hasn’t yet made a huge marketing effort towards that international customer base.