Massachusetts Casinos Returning to 24/7 Operations This Week

Casino regulars in Massachusetts will be happy to hear that the gambling venues of the state will be open 24/7 starting this week. Governor Charlie Baker recently relaxed some COVID-19 restrictions, which has led to the re-emergence of the full-time services. Casinos are now making plans to get back to work as quickly as possible.

From Curfews to 24/7 Service

For some time now, the casinos in Massachusetts have been operating under restricted hours. All venues had to be shutdown by 9:30 pm due to COVID-19 protocols. The goal of shutting down early was to slow the spread of the virus. The MGM Springfield casino was opening every day at 8 am and closing by the 9:30 pm deadline.

The casino now has plans to be back in 24/7 operations on Friday, January 29. The amenities of the casino will start back over time. Right now, there is no hotel service, spa, or movie theater access. For food services, the options are limited.

MGM will use a seven-point safety plan as its gets back to full hours of operation. The plan includes health checks of employees as well as requiring masks. Social distancing will continue along with sanitation of the property and air quality controls.

The other two casinos in the state, Encore Boston Harbor and Plainridge Park, has plans to open back fully this Wednesday. It is unclear what services will be on offer and how many employees will come back to each facility.

When Governor Baker removed the hours of operation restriction, he did not lift the 25% capacity limit. So, even though the properties will be open 24/7, the gaming floor will still be restricted to a lower percentage.

Building Back Revenues

Since closing for a few months in early 2020 and operating on a restricted basis, the three casinos have been trying hard to build back revenues. It has been difficult to see higher numbers due to the virus still being a problem in the state and neighboring states.

In November, the three casinos earned around $45 million in gross gambling revenue. December was a bit higher at $50 million. You might think that the capacity limits have something to do with the low revenue earnings. However, the casinos are not even reaching the 25% capacity mark on their busiest of days.

So, what is it? Well, it could be that travelers are not ready to visit casinos or other establishments like bars and restaurants inside the venues just yet. COVID-19 is still a very contagious disease and now there are variants as well. Vaccinations have started to roll out, but they are slow going.

It could be many months or even more than a year before the majority of US residents are vaccinated. People do not want to travel far from home or go out where they could be near someone who has the virus. The coronavirus is one that does not show symptoms in some people. That is why it has been such an issue because people who are unknown carriers are spreading it.

Even though the casinos are cleaning well and instilling protocols for safety, it seems players are just now up for visiting in large numbers yet.

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.