Chicago Looks To New Boston Casino as Successful Prototype
The city of Chicago is still scouting potential sites for a downtow n casino. However, it can use Boston’s newest casino as a prototype for success. Owned and operated by Wynn Resorts, Encore Boston Harbor is off to a booming start.
The website www.chicagobusiness.com confirmed this observation in a recent post. During its first month open to the betting public, revenue topped $49 million. With a $600 million annualized rate, Encore Boston Harbor has outpaced even the most profitable Illinois casino property. Known as an integrated resort modelled after Wynn properties in Las Vegas, the Boston operation has been impressive so far.
The three-year outlook for Encore Boston Harbor could top $1 billion in revenue. While these early growth projections are rather ambitious, the demand appears to be there. The project cost $2.6 billion to build and complete. This already makes the stakes rather high for the Las Vegas gaming giant. The Boston project relies heavily on a high-profile location. It also relies heavily on a marketing strategy that can attract high rollers to its casino floor.
Wynn goes out of its way to cater to that particular cliental in Las Vegas. Casino consultant Frank Fantini issued the following observation:
Will Big Whales (Gamblers) Come To The Casinos In Chicago?
“Wynn casino resorts specializes in the whale (big gamblers). You know they could do that in Chicago.”
Most of the speculation for a Chicago casino has centered on location. It has also centered on an acceptable structure for taxing casino revenues. Less talk has centered on what kind of casino the city should build.
Laurence Geller is hotel investor and former hospitality manager. He weighed in on the matter with the comment:
“It would have to be a giant facility. Don’t try to chintz it. I’ve seen too many crappy casino deals. It’s not like putting a casino in Rosemont (a Chicago suburb).”
New Wynn CEO Matt Maddox mentioned Chicago as a casino location. This was back in June when the Encore made its initial debut. He also added that concerns over a potential effective tax of 72 percent put a hold on those ideas. Other Las Vegas giants such as MGM and Sands have yet to commit to the Windy City.
A Casino In Boston?
When asked about Boston as a location, Maddox responded: “One thing I don’t want to get lost in this is, we are in the business of tourism. We’re focused on the region, but we’re really focused on the planet.”
Going back to the three-year projections for Wynn’s Boston casino, profit projections also have lofty goals. Numbers such as $225 million to $325 million before taxes, interest, and other costs have been thrown around.
Added costs to the project included millions in site preparations and infrastructure improvements. More than $100 million has also been spent to acquire land for future expansion.
Bloomberg senior analyst Brian Egger expects Wynn to cross-market the Boston location. Plans will start targeting high-end Asian gamblers. Fantini added that large casinos will invest money that other companies will not be based on the projected return on investment. This should also hold true in Chicago for the right location.