While COVID-related restrictions for casinos in Massachusetts were lifted in May, poker has still not returned. During the latest meeting of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Encore Boston Harbor’s SVP and general counsel Jacqui Krum revealed that one of the reasons why the property hasn’t resumed poker games is a shortage of dealers.
Poker Games Yet to Return to Massachusetts
It was back in May when COVID-related restrictions for commercial casinos in Massachusetts were lifted by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). Both Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield resumed their normal operations and even before that, games like roulette and craps returned. However, poker seemed to be left out.
Statements previously released by the two operators revealed that the venues do not offer poker games temporarily and a decision regarding the return of the game can be expected by December 31, 2021. Recently, the regulator announced that it has received multiple complaints related to the missing poker games. Additionally, some residents even asked the BGC to establish poker parlors.
In light of the situation, the MGC announced last week that it wants to know why the game hasn’t returned to the venues yet. Now, it seems that there is an answer about why poker is yet to return at Encore Boston Harbor.
Poker: Temporarily on Hold at Encore Boston Harbor
During an MGC meeting on Thursday, Jacqui Krum, SVP and general counsel at Encore Boston Harbor explained that one of the reasons that poker hasn’t returned yet is dealer shortage. She stressed that the venue did not say that there will never be poker again, just not at this time.
“We simply cannot find enough dealers,”said Jacqui Krum, SVP and general counsel, Encore Boston Harbor
Additionally, Krum revealed that Encore Boston Harbor has been readjusting nonstop based on consumer demand. Acknowledging that Encore Boston Harbor has seen difficult times, still, it tried to be “agile and responsive,” revealed Krum. Furthermore, she explained that the venue does have limited space, and what used to be a poker area was rearranged to offer some of theirs “highest-performing slot machines.”
“However, we do have limited space, and the former poker area is currently occupied by some of our highest-performing slot machines,”explained Ms. Krum
However, the main factor that contributed toward the discontinued poker operations at Encore remains the shortage of dealers. Although Krum acknowledged that the property’s dealer school has been operating nonstop, she added that currently there just isn’t enough staff to resume poker games. If the property resumes poker games right now, it would have to close other table games, said Krum.