Wynn Resorts Furloughs Two-Thirds of Encore Boston Harbor Staffers

Gaming News Gaming News

By Todd Shriber

Wynn Resorts is aiming to reopen Encore Boston Harbor on July 6, but even if that’s a firm date, the integrated resort will restart with significantly less staff with the operator saying Monday it’s furloughing roughly 3,000 employees.

Encore, along with the Bay State’s two other gaming properties – MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino (PPC) – have been closed since March 15 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, Gov. Charlie Baker said those venues could welcome guests back as part of Phase 3 reopening efforts, but July 6 is the earliest that can happen.

Due to an array of reduce capacity protocols and social distancing measures, a full complement of staffers isn’t necessary for the Encore reopening.

Pending final approval, Encore Boston Harbor plans to reopen the casino gaming area and supporting food and beverage outlets around the casino. It also plans to open the hotel on a limited basis,” according to a Wynn statement posted on the web site for the New England venue.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the Wynn property was the largest employer of the three Bay State casinos with 4,421 staffers – 3,303 full-time and 1,118 part-time – according to Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) data.

Better Than Layoffs

Furloughs and layoffs are materially different for the workers involved. Layoffs usually arrive via unexpected economic circumstances and the affected staff often face long odds of returning to their original jobs. Conversely, furloughed workers are still considered employees of the company and have better prospects of returning to their roles.

Soon after the coronvirus shutdown, many gaming companies laid off workers as an avenue to conserve cash, but Wynn was among a small amount of others that paid employees at US integrated resorts. With executives taking sizable reductions to cash compensation, the operator said it would pay staffers at its two Las Vegas venues and Encore Boston Harbor through mid-May, though CEO Matt Maddox previously acknowledged extending that benefit could be difficult.

Wynn said “a number” of the furloughed Massachusetts employees will return for training when the operator has a hard and fast reopening date while the others will remain on furlough until demand increases enough to warrant their return.

The $2.6 billion venue opened in June 2019 and rapidly became the highest-grossing casino in the state.

Limited Gaming Explains Reduced Staff Needs

It’s no mystery why Encore Boston Harbor doesn’t need a full employee roster. As part of Wynn’s broader reopening plan, the company said last month it would scrap poker tables at its three US venues while limiting craps at the New England property to high rollers.

Those and other limitations are part of what Wynn deems a “measured” approach to getting its gaming properties up and running again.

“Some employees working in the re-opened amenities and restaurants will return to work. Employees, who worked in areas for which a re-opening date is uncertain due to current restrictions, are being placed on furlough until further notice,” according to the release on the Encore Boston site.