Casino looks to replace workers with automatic drink makers
BOSTON (AP) — Wynn Resorts is in the process of “rightsizing” operations at Encore Boston Harbor, the $2.6 billion casino that opened just six months ago but has so far fallen short of revenue projections, a company official said Thursday.
Eric Kraus, the casino’s senior vice president of communications, told the state’s Gaming Commission that one change the casino is pursuing is using automated drink dispensers, a move that he said would speed up drink service for gamblers but also replace an undetermined number of “back of the house” bartenders and other staff.
Kraus stressed the company hasn’t laid off any workers and disputed local news reports that dozens of workers have been already been notified they’re out of a job.
He said the company isn’t able to estimate yet how many positions would be eliminated and that it will be working to place as many impacted workers as possible into other positions.
Kraus said the company currently has more than 80 job openings and that the automated beverage machines, which are used at other Massachusetts casinos, still require state approval.
The waterfront hotel, casino and entertainment complex in Everett employs 4,485 workers, the company said.
The planned adjustments come as the highly touted casino is on track to under perform revenue projections it provided when it won the sole casino license for the Boston-area in 2014.
Encore Boston Harbor is generating roughly $50 million in gross revenue from its gambling operations each month, according to state data. Wynn had predicted the casino would earn $800 million from gambling in its first year.
The company said in November the casino had a roughly $42 million operating loss in its first three months open.
Casino president Robert DeSalvio also stepped down in the fall and was replaced by Brian Gullbrants, who had overseen the hotels at the company’s casinos in Las Vegas.
And Encore Boston Harbor has taken steps to lure in customers, including lowering its table game minimums and eliminating parking fees.
The Conservation Law Foundation, meanwhile, announced Thursday it has sued the casino and its shuttle bus operators in federal court over excessive vehicle idling.
The Boston-based advocacy group said casino shuttles have been frequently observed violating the federal Clean Air Act and the state’s anti-idling law, which limits unnecessary engine idling to five minutes.
The casino said in a statement that it spoke with its bus operators when the foundation first raised its concerns in the fall and had been assured drivers were taking proper steps to limit idling.