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Massachusetts Casinos Will Reopen Without Poker, Craps And Roulette

Gov. Charlie Baker Hasn't Announced A Timeline For Reopening The Bay State's Gaming Market

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Massachusetts hasn’t given a definitive timeline for when it will reopen its three casinos, but when it does, options will be extremely limited for Bay State gamblers.

On Tuesday, regulators from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission finalized the minimum guidelines necessary for casinos and slot parlors to reopen after deciding that gamblers would not be allowed to carry drinks around the casino.

Last week, however, the majority of the standards were set. When casinos reopen, operators will not be allowed to spread craps, roulette, and poker games. According to CBS Boston, Blackjack tables will be capped at three players per table with plexiglass dividers used to separate players from one another and the dealer.

Plexiglass dividers have been implemented at several poker rooms in Florida and at the Bellagio’s recently reopened poker room in Las Vegas. Based on the abundance of caution exercised by Massachusetts regulators, it’s likely that MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor will be forced into using these partitions in their poker rooms as well.

Poker, craps, and roulette will be permitted once regulators feel the environment is safe enough for it and relax the guidelines a bit. Those games will likely have restrictions on how many players can sit at a table.

Slot machines will be cleaned at least once every four hours and will be spaced out throughout the casino. Gamblers will be required to wear masks or face coverings while on the gambling floor.

Massachusetts is home to three commercial casinos and numerous racinos, that only allow slot machines. It is still a relatively young gambling market as Encore Boston Harbor, the state’s most profitable casino only opened in 2019. MGM Springfield, the only other casino with a poker room in Massachusetts, opened two years earlier.

The Bay State is following similar measures taken by Michigan, which houses three commercial casinos in Detroit. Gaming regulators in Michigan announced earlier this month that poker will be banned until further notice at those properties, which will operate at 15 percent of its total capacity.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer still has yet to announce a timeline for the reopening of Detroit’s casinos. Massachusetts, on the other hand, could open as early as June 29, but Gov. Charlie Baker hasn’t released any plans yet.