Tell the truth: Aren’t you the least bit curious to see how the $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor resort and casino will fare when it opens officially for play on Sunday? Or to take a peek inside the gleaming edifice overlooking the Mystic in Everett, home now to a five-star hotel and restaurants — 15 of them — as well as retail shops, meeting and convention spaces, a luxury spa, and a harborwalk and park? And the buzz and excitement of the casino’s 143 table games, 88 poker tables, and 3,158 slot machines?
Many expect Encore to do well and attract crowds, at least in the near term, although some have a nagging worry about its impact on area traffic — which usually looks good on paper until a fender-bender on a nearby roadway or a stuck drawbridge mucks up the projections and reveals their flaws.
For the long term, casino skeptics and opponents of legalized gambling say the Commonwealth would do well to regulate the heck out of the industry and to keep the number of licenses in the state no higher than where it is, lest the scene devolves into the blights one sees in Atlantic City and a swath of Las Vegas. Those gambling meccas are not resorts for fun vacations, just sad destinations for people desperate for a good time.
At Encore, no one is thinking that way. Ahead of the opening, the casino is holding a three-day test run this week, and the 671-room hotel and several restaurants have begun taking bookings. The eateries include Sinatra (Italian), Rare Steakhouse, Mystique (Asian), Red 8 (Chinese Cantonese), On Deck Burger Bar; and Fratelli (Italian).
If you go, be prepared to spend. As for trying your luck (intuition?) at those tables, don’t forget the house, as a whole, always wins. And the payouts that slot machines give are determined by computer software to have a minimum theoretical payout of only 80 percent during the cycle of the game, according to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Bottom line: You lose more than you win over the long run. For more information about Encore and its opening, visit encorebostonharbor.com.
Elsewhere this week: The town of Hull kicks off its 375th anniversary celebration with a beachside carnival and fireworks display in partnership with the Hull Youth Football Association. The carnival takes place Wednesday through Sunday on the Hull Redevelopment Authority property near Nantasket Beach, and the fireworks go off after dusk on Saturday from a barge on the ocean side of the peninsula. The rain date is Sunday. Other events have also been planned for later this year, including a tennis tournament, sunset cruise, parade and field day, gala, a “Taste of Hull” event, and the town’s annual Thanksgiving night bonfire on the beach. Visit town.hull.ma.us and the town’s Facebook page.
More town pride: Carlisle’s annual Old Home Day festivities kick off on Friday at 6:30 p.m. with a sing-along led by the Carlisle Community Chorus, followed by events on Saturday including road races, a pancake breakfast, parade, outdoor games, a pet show, art show, cake-decorating contest, and barbecue. Other than the barbecue, which will take place at the fire station, all events will be held on the Town Common. Visit carlisleohd.org.
Olde Towne: In Plymouth on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., costumed role players will perform the parts of local women using their words from archival sources in a tour of the Hedge House Museum, 126 Water St. The “Voices from the Past” event celebrates the 100th anniversary of Massachusetts’ ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the vote, on June 25, 1919. Visit plymouthantiquariansociety.org.
New reality: In Melrose, the Police Department will participate in an active-shooter training drill throughout this week at the Horace Mann School, 40 Damon Ave. The department says that people may hear loud noises and see police units in the area, but that it’s only a drill and only blank/training rounds and noise simulators will be used. The drills will be held between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Visit melrosepolice.net.