Everett might be all-in
on the 4 a.m. extending liquor license for Encore Boston Harbor, but
surrounding cities like Chelsea aren’t so excited.
In comments this week,
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino said they
weren’t in favor of Encore’s request for a limited 4 a.m. liquor license from
the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). The request is currently under
review and in a public comment period. It would only apply to those actively
engaged in gaming, and the last call would be 3:30 a.m. Most other liquor
licenses have a 2 a.m. cutoff.
Chelsea City Manager Tom
Ambrosino said he doesn’t support the idea, seeing no advantage to Chelsea in
having a luxury casino open late just a few hundred yards from the Chelsea city
“That would have no
positive benefit to the City of Chelsea, so it would not be something I would
favor,” he said.
Mayor Martin Walsh agreed
with those sentiments as well.
“When the Legislature
wrote the bill to have casino gaming, it was a 2 a.m. liquor license, which I
voted on,” said Mayor Walsh. “I think that at this point in time, we should get
the casino open, and see how the 2 a.m. license works. If there is a need, if
there is a desire, or if there is a concern that it hampers the business, then
I think we should explore the opportunity of maybe going until 3 a.m. or 4 a.m.
But right now, at opening, closing at 2 a.m. – let’s see what it looks like.
You can’t say there are concerns there until it’s open. I would request we wait
and then have a full vetting. Right now it needs to be opened and see how it
all works with a 2 a.m. closing.”
Meanwhile, Everett Mayor
Carlo DeMaria said the later closing hour is critical to the casino being an
international destination, as no such 2 a.m. rules apply in other locales where
Wynn Resorts operates.
“The City of Everett is
committed to supporting the success of the Encore Boston Harbor Resort,” he said.
“In order for it to be a destination for an international clientele, the resort
needs to be able to offer these clients a cocktail during the time they
play. At 2 a.m., all the bars and restaurants will be closed, and drinks
will only be served to those on the casino floor by a trained and certified
server. Over-serving and irresponsible behavior will not be tolerated.”
He added that State
Police, Everett Police and Encore security would be on site during the late
hours and transportation services would be available for guests.
Walsh said he realizes
that the Springfield casino already has a 4 a.m. license, but he also added
that the circumstances are different in Everett. He said there are a lot of
other cities and towns in the immediate area without such licenses. He said
there has to be a dialog with everyone after the first six months.
“I’m not going to assume
they’ll do 4 a.m.,” he said. “I’ll ask the Gaming Commission to be respectful
of the surrounding cities and towns and see how the process works and see how
the casino does in its first six months. Then we’ll revisit it and have a
conversation and dialog at this point.
“We filed legislation (in
Boston) a few years ago to open some of the bars and clubs later,” he
continued. “So, that’s why I think you need a six-month vetting. Let’s assume
for a moment the Gaming Commission grants the 4 a.m. license, that puts a lot
of businesses in surrounding cities and town, including Boston, at a serious
disadvantage. I think let’s wait and see what the 2 a.m. does…It’s not simply
opening the casino until 4 a.m. It’s about having a conversation about other
cities and towns and their licenses and what would happen in their
The MGC is expected to talk more about the 4 a.m. license application at
its next meeting on May 22.
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