Casinos Set to Reopen in Massachusetts

The state of Massachusetts has kept its casinos closed longer than most other states, but that is set to change this weekend. The three casinos in Massachusetts can reopen their doors on Sunday, and it has been a long time coming.

Plainridge Park was able to reopen its doors on July 8, but it only offers slots at its location. Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield have both announced their reopenings for July 12, and they will provide customers with a traditional casino experience.

Even though the three casinos will all be open by the end of the weekend, there are thousands of workers that will still be without jobs. Slot machines will be turned on in the facilities, but table games will be extremely limited.

Encore Boston Harbor announced this week that they were furloughing more than 3,000 employees, and MGM Springfield is planning on bringing back just one-third of their full-time employees.

The cleaning staff at both locations are being brought back, but several dealers and hospitality workers will remain without work. The state of Massachusetts has seen a huge number of unemployment claims, and this won’t help solve the issue.

Massachusetts has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and government leaders have been slow to reopen the state.

Long List of Health and Safety Protocols

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has created a long list of health and safety guidelines that must be followed by each casino that plans to reopen. All guests and workers must wear face masks inside the casinos, and temperature checks will be stationed at the entrances.

Hand-sanitizing stations must also be provided by all of the casinos, and there will be signs encouraging both guests and workers to use them. Social distancing measures will be strictly enforced in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will not allow more than three players at any of the blackjack tables, and plexiglass dividers will also be installed. Poker, craps, and roulette will remain closed for the time being as the commission continues to monitor the situation.

State Has Lost Millions

The state relies on the casinos to provide tax revenue, and the casinos also need to be open to make some money. Since these casinos have been closed since March 15, both the companies and the state have lost out on millions of dollars.

MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park won a combined $14.23 million during March of 2019. The two companies combined to bring in $12.34 million during April 2019.

May saw a slightly better month than April as the two casinos brought in $12.84 million in gross gaming revenue. These two casinos were joined by Encore in June, which increased the total amount of gross gaming revenue.

The three casinos totaled a gross gaming revenue of $15.82 million during June, the highest total ever recorded in the state. This means that the three casinos brought in $55.2 million during the period of March-June in 2019.

Encore, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park brought in total gross gaming revenue of $9.79 million during March, but these three properties were closed in April through June. This means that the three casinos lost out on more than $45 million from the numbers produced just one year ago.

Even though the casinos are set to reopen soon, they will do so in a limited capacity. The July 2020 numbers will fall short of the July 2019 numbers, which will result in additional money lost.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.