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Fiona Simmons October 9, 2020 3 min read
MGC Allows Commercial Casinos to Reintroduce Roulette Tables
MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor have been allowed to reintroduce roulette gaming as the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) approved the health and safety measures related to roulette gambling and reversed its July and August decisions.
Allow State Roulettes or Risk Player Outflow
During its meeting Thursday the MGC decided to finally allow the two full-scale commercial casinos in the state to bring back their roulette customers. As casinos in Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey have roulette gambling, the commission members had to also take into consideration the possibility of state residents outflowing to neighboring states within driving distance, in case the Massachusetts casinos were unable to offer that type of gaming and entertainment.
Back in July, when the MGC allowed the casinos to reopen after being shut down to comply with state and federal orders related to the spreading virus, certain games were excluded from operation for the time being, among which craps and roulette. Since then, the two commercial casinos had enough time to evaluate safety measures and for the 3 months have not met any significant issue, hence they requested the regulator to allow the games back on.
Roulette Gambling Atmosphere Not the Same
Roulettes will be allowed but with some restrictions which will inevitably affect the gaming and the gambling atmosphere around the tables. Instead of 9 players per roulette, the game will now run with 3 players, all being seated and separated from one another through plexiglass barriers. There will be no standing up crowd cheering the next spin winner.
The number of roulette tables at both casino properties will be limited, 16 at Encore and up to 7 at MGM, and neither of the two casinos will be allowed to push up its maximum occupancy in conjunction of the reintroduction of roulette gaming. Besides that, verbal bets while the ball is spinning, a very common way of placing roulette table bets, will be eliminated due to concerns that the dealer’s hearing may be obstructed by the plexiglass barriers.
“We have worked with them to identify health and safety measures that could be implemented with roulette and in doing so we tried to hew closely to the measures that the commission already approved for the blackjack-style games.”Loretta Lillios, Interim Director, Investigations and Enforcement Bureau, MGC
A similar request from Encore and MGM to restore their roulette and craps tables in August was denied by the regulator, but this time around the MGC felt comfortable to allow the casinos reintroduce these games due to the small number of issues since reopening, the safety measures put in place and mainly because the return of roulette would allow the casino operators to hire back employees that were laid off.
Besides the decision to allow roulette tables back on, the MGC introduced minor changes to rules of some of the casino games, including the blackjack issue which led to a class action lawsuit against Encore in 2019.