Despite a pandemic, limited gaming activities and a hard-sell to get people into the resort, Encore Boston Harbor had one of its best quarters from July through September – drawing rave reviews from CEO Matt Maddox during an investor call last Thursday afternoon.
Maddox conceded that Encore had opened last year without the best understanding of the market in Greater Boston. However, he said during the lockdown this spring, they re-tooled and seemed to find their stride – and it resulted in their most profitable quarter ever.
“Encore Boston Harbor is really starting to hit its stride,” he said. “We generated $26 million in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), which is significantly more than we ever had in any quarter. And our team has really learned how to be a super-regional operator. We focused during the shutdown on how to run Encore Boston Harbor differently, because clearly what we were doing was not quite right. We’ve had a laser focus on the casino segment and what it is those customers want and how we’re going to deliver it.”
One example he gave was the overall slot handle, which was up tremendously in the quarter and was almost as high as last year at this time despite having only 1,800 machines this year versus more than 3,000 last year.
The slot handle for the third quarter was $813.4 million with 1,800 machines versus $892.7 million last year with 3,000-plus machines.
“That’s pretty extraordinary when you consider we had 1,800 slot machines open in this quarter versus 3,000 last year and volume was higher on a daily basis,” he said.
That slot handle also outperformed Las Vegas numbers once again, which is a somewhat hidden fact within the company that the Everett casino frequently pulls in more money than Las Vegas properties.
Overall, Encore brought in $96.7 million in revenue for the 3rd Quarter, while Las Vegas properties had $65.7 million during the same time.
As for hotel room occupancy, Encore actually filled the place better than it had been doing last year at this time, but did so by dramatically reducing the nightly rate.
The occupancy rate was 72.7 percent for the quarter, as opposed to 69.6 percent last year during the same time – which was surprising given the difficulties facing hotels in the Boston market. However, one reason could be the drastic reduction in room rates. While Encore had a rate of $465 last year, this year’s rate in the 3rd Quarter was $294. That on top of the fact that the hotel at Encore was not operational through the weekdays during the 3rd Quarter this year.
With those numbers, Maddox was very optimistic about the future of Encore when things get moving once more post COVID or in a middle-ground where the virus can be contained.
“Encore Boston Harbor is really starting to learn how, and we are starting to learn, what that market is and how to market to those customers,” he said.