In a conference call planned for today, the gaming regulator in Massachusetts will discuss the return of craps, roulette and poker at casinos.
Massachusetts Regulator Discussing the Possible Return of Craps, Roulette and Poker
Today, August 13, in a conference call meeting the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) will be discussing the return of craps and roulette games in casinos. The regulator is also going to review the possibility to return poker as well. The conference call meeting is set to start at 10 am today. According to the meeting agenda the regulator’s executive director, Karen Wells will share a general report on the reopening of casinos as well as possible return of the games.
The meeting is the result of a request which was submitted earlier this week by Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield. The two casinos which offer table games asked the regulator to reinstate craps and roulette games. Although the operators did not ask for the return of poker, the regulator will discuss that as well.
Casinos in Massachusetts Were Ordered to Close Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Bay State casinos were ordered to close back on March 15. This was an effort of the state officials to reduce the spread of the respiratory disease COVID-19 in the state. After nearly 4 months of suspended operations, the properties MGM Springfield, Plainridge Park and Encore Boston Harbor reopened in the period July 10-13. Although the operators have reopened their doors, craps and roulette games were not reinstated.
Back near the end of July, the MGC said that it was happy with the compliance of the operators and the health and safety protocols which they implemented. Now, following today’s meeting, the return of craps and roulette as well as poker may become a fact in the next few days.
The Strict Post-COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols
In a statement released earlier this week, MGM Springfield commented: “We appreciate the Gaming Commission’s consideration of our request as we progress through a phased reopening with the health and safety of our employees and guests at the forefront of any decisions.“
Since they were allowed to reopen, the three operators in Massachusetts had to reduce their occupancy to approximately one-third. Besides that, the casinos had to implement social distancing and enhanced cleaning protocols. Social distancing was achieved with rearranging some areas of the venues. Additionally, in some areas, the operators installed plexiglass spacers. Visitors also have to wear masks when indoors and operators established hand sanitizing stations across their gaming floors.
Looking at data by the American Gaming Association we observe that there are 851 tribal and casino operators who already reopened their doors across the U.S. With that in mind, another 139 commercial and tribal properties remain closed for the moment.