Wynn Resorts in talks to sell Encore Boston Harbor to MGM

The resort at night
The Encore Boston Harbor cost $2.6 billion to build and includes 671 rooms, a 210,000-square-foot casino and 15 dining and lounge venues. Photo credit: Encore Boston Harbor

Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts are discussing selling Wynn’s nearly open $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor to MGM, according to a joint statement from the companies.

The two companies said the talks were in the “very” preliminary stages and would not affect the resort’s June 23 opening date. In Wynn Resort’s May 9 first-quarter earnings call however, CEO Matt Maddox said the resort may open a week or two late as the company works to make sure the resort is “flawless.”

Related Story: $2.6B Encore Boston Harbor to open June 23

The news follows the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s decision to fine Wynn Resorts $35 million for failing to disclose sexual misconduct allegations against its founder and former CEO Steve Wynn. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the accusations in January 2018. Wynn resigned as CEO less than two weeks later.

According to the statement, the companies have been talking about the potential sale for the past several weeks. This places the timing of when the talks first began around the same time the Massachusetts Gaming Commission finished its 15-month investigation into Wynn Resorts’ handling of sexual misconduct allegations.

The transaction would not be a simple matter of Wynn Resorts selling its property to MGM Resorts. Massachusetts law only allows one casino license per company. This past August, MGM Resorts opened the only casino location in western Massachusetts at a cost of $960 million. Should the company decide to purchase the Encore Boston Harbor, it would need to give up its casino license for the MGM Springfield.

Related Story: How MGM Springfield will reflect Massachusetts' heritage

The 671-key Encore Boston Harbor includes a 210,000-square-foot casino, 15 dining and lounge venues, 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, a spa and a 6-acre park space. The project has been long in development, having won its casino license in 2014.