Massachusetts is waiting for casinos to go to 24-hour operational capacity, with MGM Springfield going to around-the-clock working hours on Friday.
MGM Springfield Returns to 24-hour Working Hours on Friday
As Massachusetts allowed casinos to return back to 24-hour working hours, albeit, at reduced capacity, the state’s major properties are preparing to restart operation. MGM Springfield will go back to business around the clock this Friday, January 29.
With Gov. Charlie Baker’s announcement last week that some lockdown measures will be removed, casinos will no longer have to shut down between the hours from 9:30 pm to 8 am. Instead, they will have the opportunity to try and secure more business during the night.
The measure is a good step forward for the state’s casinos, as traditionally, they generate the most business after 10 pm. Even if the governor has agreed to allow 24-hour operation, health authorities will not approve the removal of the 25% capacity cap any time soon, but this shouldn’t be an issue.
Casino Amenities Should Return
However, casino amenities may start to reopen over time, although at limited service. Foodservice is slowly returning, too, but since the risk of transmission is higher in catering, many casinos have chosen to keep this to skeletal service only.
Businesses will not have to close at 9:30, which is another relief for casinos because more nightlife means bigger foot traffic. Part of the reason why Gov. Baker approved reopening of casinos at full capacity is the fact that hospitalizations in the state have fallen by 10% in Massachusetts and that positive test numbers have decreased by another 33%.
As part of its return to operations, MGM Springfield has also come up with a seven-point reopening plan designed to allow the facility to exert maximum control over what is going on the casino floor.
All Casinos Starting Up
This includes mask requirements, social distancing, air quality controls, employee health checks, and frequent sanitation of all casino areas. Meanwhile, Encore Boston Harbor and Plainridge Park have decided to go back to full-scale operation sooner and will do so starting on Wednesday.
Casinos have been doing fairly well notwithstanding the difficulties faced by the industry as a whole. Results in December posted $50 million in gross gaming revenue, which is a slight improvement over November’s results which stood at $45 million.
The 25% capacity limit isn’t quite the issue here, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission recently said, explaining that even pre-pandemic, the casinos never quite managed to fill the 25% capacity, and occupancy actually averages 19% according to the regulator.
Meanwhile, the state is looking into opportunities to introduce sports betting, which could be another worthwhile revenue facet for the cash-strapped budget.