The Encore Boston Harbor casino opens Sunday. Here’s everything you need to know
When does the casino open?
This Sunday at 10 a.m. Not typically prime time for gambling, but it beats Monday morning traffic.
Will the opening be a circus?
Probably, but Wynn Resorts says it has a detailed plan to deal with the throngs, ranging from snack and water stands for people in line early to extra buses and boats for patrons, to lots of state and local police officers assigned to the opening.
What are the casino’s hours?
All night. All day. Every day. The front door doesn’t even have a lock, according to Encore Boston Harbor’s president.
How can I get there?
Hoo boy. The casino is urging people to leave their cars at home and take other modes of transportation. And there are many options.
Hit me with the details, please.
You should take the Orange Line to Wellington or Malden Center, or take the commuter rail to Malden Center. The casino will have free shuttles that will show up every 10 to 20 minutes at those stops. For the opening, there will also be a shuttle running every 20 minutes from the Blue Line’s Wonderland stop. Don’t mind a walk? You can do that pretty easily from the Sullivan Square Station on the Orange Line.
I want to see the casino, but I’m sick of the T and I don’t want to sit in traffic on Interstate 93.
Picky, picky. Encore is offering a $7 shuttle boat from the Seaport (the World Trade Center dock) and downtown (the Long Wharf North dock) to the casino’s front door along the Mystic River. For those coming from points north, south, or west, there will be a $7 “premium” bus from park-and-ride lots in Londonderry, N.H., Rockland, and Millbury. You can also take an Uber or Lyft. And there’s even a dock at the casino for Bluebikes.
I’m a local. Is there a bus to get me there?
Yeah, there’s a minibus — called the Encore Neighborhood Runner — that will run 24 hours between the Chelsea Station Silver Line stop, Everett City Hall, the Rivergreen parking lot, and the casino.
Is there parking, too?
There are 3,000 parking spaces at the casino that you will have to pay for ($22 for 6 hours, $42 for 24 hours) and overflow parking at several locations nearby.
How big is Encore?
So big, however you measure it. The $2.6 billion casino resort is 3.1 million square feet, has 671 hotel rooms and suites, and a 17-treatment-room spa.
How much will a night in the casino hotel cost?
Lots. At last check, a Friday and Saturday night in a “premier king” for a weekend in August clocked in at a total of $1,843 (with taxes and fees).
Do I have to be 21 to go?
Yes and no. All ages are free to wander the resort and look at the millions of dollars worth of art (don’t miss the gargantuan statue of Popeye that’s a short walk from the main lobby). But you have to be 21 to go on the casino floor.
Is there poker?
Yes. There are 88 poker tables.
Are there slots?
A bajillion. 3,158 to be exact.
What kinds of table games do they have?
All the ones you’ve heard of and lots that you haven’t. Blackjack, roulette, Casino War, Mini Baccarat, Pai-Gow Tiles, Let It Ride, Crazy Four Poker, Three Card Poker, and more, according to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
Can I bet on the Pats or the Sox?
Not yet. It’s been more than a year since a Supreme Court decision legalized sports gambling beyond Nevada. But even as other states have moved quickly on the sports betting front, the Massachusetts Legislature is taking its sweet time.
Do I tip at the poker/blackjack/craps table?
Yes. It’s nice to give the dealer a tip, especially after you win a hand or have a good roll of the dice. Supervisors can’t take tips.
Should I tip the server bringing me drinks?
Yes. Tipping is the right thing to do. $1 per drink is customary.
Are drinks free when I’m gambling?
Since you’re gambling, you’re paying for them in a not-so-roundabout way. And it’s hard to walk away with your winnings when your drink is on the way.
How late will alcohol be served?
2 a.m. except for people who are actively gambling. They can be served until 4 a.m.
What if I would rather poke myself in the eye with a hot poker than go to a casino in Everett?
Sunday is forecast to be beautiful. You could wander down a deserted stretch of beach on Plum Island or meander through Estabrook Woods in Concord, a hidden gem.
I’m concerned my friend or loved one has a gambling addiction — what should I do?
You can encourage them to sign up for the state’s voluntary self-exclusion program — more information here. They can sign a form that will prohibit them from the gaming floors of all Massachusetts casinos for the length of time they choose. The state Gaming Commission says someone who signs up will be escorted from the area if they show up. If they sneak on and win big, they won’t be able to collect any winnings and will forfeit whatever chips they have. The state also has a responsible gaming program called GameSense, which includes this pearl of wisdom on its website: “Over time, the house always wins.”
What’s the state’s take on gambling?
Massachusetts will grab 25 percent of gross gaming revenues from Encore. By law, that money will fund a variety of areas, from local aid to cities and towns to the state’s emergency savings fund.
What are Encore’s 15 restaurants and lounges?
They range from a high-end Frank Sinatra-themed establishment to a burger joint, from a sports bar to one featuring more than 40 beers and ciders from across New England. The Globe predicts there also will be great people watching, if that’s your jam.
Will Encore have Las Vegas-style shows?
Nope. Wynn Resorts executives say that rather than build a theater, they decided to partner with local cultural and sports organizations to provide entertainment for guests.
Can I smoke tobacco products there?
Not inside you can’t. There will be a designated outdoor smoking area.
Marijuana is legal in Massachusetts. Can I consume pot at the casino?
Nope. No vaping. No gummies. No exceptions, the casino says.
Remind me, who owns and operates Encore?
Wynn Resorts, a publicly traded company that also owns and operates Wynn Las Vegas, Encore Las Vegas, and casinos in Macau.
What happened with all that talk of Encore being sold to MGM Resorts?
After a backlash, MGM said in May it had pulled out of talks to buy the casino. Completing the deal would have forced MGM to relinquish the casino license it holds in Western Massachusetts and presumably sell MGM Springfield, the state’s first resort casino, which opened last year to great fanfare.
Wait, it’s called Encore Boston Harbor but it’s in Everett — what’s the deal?
It’s not on the Boston Harbor; it’s on the Mystic River. But Encore on the Mystic Across the Tracks from the Costco doesn’t quite have the same glam ring to it. (Though for longtime Bostonians who remember the Harbor pre-cleanup, anything to do with Boston Harbor doesn’t have a glam ring to it, either.)
It’s summer and I like iced coffee. Does the casino have a coffee shop?
It may seem like a Vegas palace, but it is a Massachusetts establishment for goodness sake! There’s a Dunkin’ with a marble floor and an “eight-head cold beverage tap system that includes Nitro Cold Brew” right off of the casino. Translation: Coffee, fancy and not, is available 24/7.
Have a question we didn’t answer?
E-mail your query to the reporter on this story, Joshua Miller, at email@example.com.