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John L. Smith: Successful Boston Opening Could End Tough Chapter For Wynn


Wynn Resorts

After so much controversy, the loss of its visionary founder, the original name and millions of dollars, Wynn Resorts finally opened Encore Boston Harbor in Massachusetts. 

It’s a sparkling, $2.6 billion property that is already receiving rave reviews. 

That’s welcome news for the corporate casino giant and appears to end a troubling chapter in its history on a high note. 

State of Nevada Contributor John L. Smith has followed the story from the start and has been watching the reaction to the grand opening. 

“For the company, this is a major obstacle that has been hurdled," he said, "They should be celebrating but I would imagine that behind the scene somewhere they’re just plenty relieved to have the damn thing opened.”

Smith pointed out that it was no small trouble to get the new resort opened after the sexual misconduct scandal of former CEO Steve Wynn, the subsequent trouble with gaming licenses in Massachusetts and the multi-million dollar fines that had to be paid.

“You’re talking about a lot of bank going out the door before anyone is earning anything," he said.

But while the resort is getting rave reviews, is it is much different than what you would see on the Las Vegas Strip? 

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“In a word, no, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a major event," Smith quipped, “This is a Las Vegas level casino resort opening far from the Strip.”

One big difference is the size of the casino, which is bigger than the Wynn and the Encore on the Strip. Smith believes that it might take a bit out of the Las Vegas gambling market.

“It has to have an impact locally and regional customers because people in that area have a long tradition of flying out to Las Vegas to vacation,” he said.

While Wynn Resorts did its best to distance itself from Steve Wynn, Smith thinks the founder's influence is still there.

“The one thing that Steve Wynn was known for, perhaps best known for, was the ability to finish a place and have it just be polished,” he said.

Besides the perfectly polished touches around the resort, there is also the six-foot tall, 2,000-pound sculpture of Popeye by artist Jeff Koons that Wynn bought for $28 million and the floral touches that have become the Wynn signature.

A woman walks past a giant Popeye sculpture by artist Jeff Koons displayed in a corridor at the Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett, Mass., Friday, June 21, 2019.  (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The Legacy of former Las Vegas City Councilmembers Lois Tarkanian and Bob Coffin

“I think you’ve got a person who fought hard to create and expand the medical district in her ward. And you’ve got a person who is really a personable elected official.  A lot of folks like Lois Tarkanian. Her personality was very agreeable and I think that there is a genuineness about her that really stood her in great stead. The local Easter Seals group named a public service award after her. That’s the Lois Tarkanian that I think will be remembered.”

“I think Bob Coffin will be remembered as one of those people who was steadfast. He was an honest guy and that’s hard to find. There’s a political scandal it seems like around every corner in one area of local government or another. Coffin was essentially free of that. That’s a pretty strong track record over more than 30 years.”





John L. Smith, KNPR contributor 

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