By Lisa Gresci

EVERETT (CBS) — So many people were waiting to get into Encore Boston Harbor Sunday that the new casino was forced let people enter in waves. Even with a total capacity of 32,000, at times more than 4,000 customers stood in line outside.

“Do you really want the truth? It’s brutal,” said Jane Foster, of Malden, about the wait. “It’s brutal, but you know, it’s exciting.”

Bob Leboeuf, of North Attleboro, waited in line for over an hour but did not mind. “It’s like waiting in line at Disney World, they give you stuff to do in line. They got music playing. It’s a nice day,” he explained.

Long lines formed outside Encore Boston Harbor for Sunday’s opening day (WBZ-TV)

“I’m here for the poker room. I’m a big poker player and it would be nice to go to a world-class Vegas poker room. It’s probably going to be the best in New England. So I’m really excited,” Leboeuf added.

After a ribbon cutting ceremony and display of fireworks, employees greeted customers with “Good morning, welcome! Thank you for coming!”

Visitors who talked to WBZ-TV said it was worth the wait.

“It’s amazing, it’s fantastic. I can’t believe my eyes, just look at it, it’s out of this world. This is better than Vegas,” said Virgil Volpicelli, of Malden.

Joe Digangi, of Boston, had the same idea. “You just feel like you’re in Vegas. I walked in and said ‘wow, you wouldn’t know.’ If you got to a lot of other casinos, you know you’re not in Las Vegas. Here? If you woke up you’d think in Las Vegas,” he said.

Barbara Collins, who was born and raised in the city of Everett, was emotional when she talked about how casino had transformed the area.

“I never thought. Eighty-one years old. When they announced they were going to do this casino I said, ‘oh god, let me live to see this,'” said Collins. “Now it’s Hollywood. Beautiful.”

Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox remembered the day he saw the site with Everett’s Mayor Carlo DeMaria.

“Seven years ago, I was standing on this site with the mayor, just us two, and there wasn’t a blade of grass on the site,” he said. Now, along with 3,100 slot machines and 231 table games, there are 15 restaurants, bars, and lounges.

“We brought the North End to the Encore Boston Harbor,” explained Fratelli owner Nick Varano.

Ed Kane owns the nightclub Memoire. “People want safe, beautifully curated, top D.J.’s, great hospitality in the nightlife and I think that’s what we brought to the Boston area,” he said.

For some, the other casino options are officially out of the question.

“Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun? Forget about it. We are here to stay,” Volpicelli said.

Now that the Encore Boston Harbor is officially open, it technically never closes because it’s hours are 24 hours a day.

Lisa Gresci

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