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Massachusetts Gaming Regulators Say "No" To Resuming Craps, Roulette And Poker

Regulators Were Concerned With Lack Of Social Distancing In A Poker Room

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Massachusetts gaming regulators denied a request by two casinos to allow the resumption of craps, roulette and poker.

Last week, Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield asked regulators to reconsider their original mandate that upon reopening, Massachusetts casinos would not be allowed to spread craps, roulette and poker. Of the three Bay State casinos, those two properties are the only to offer those games, while Plainridge Park Casino consists entirely of slot machines.

The regulators met with representatives from the two properties through a teleconferencing platform, but ultimately the regulators denied the request to start spreading these games again.

According to the local ABC affiliate, Massachusetts Gaming Commission said that current conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in the state do not warrant the gaming expansion. With regards to poker, the panel was concerned that steps to ensure social distancing could not be satisfied.

Regulators did not give a timeline on when these games could be spread again.

Like casinos all over the country, the three casinos were forced to close in mid-March in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The state was one of the most cautious and last to reopen its gaming market, allowing casinos to reopen in mid-July.

Plainridge Park was open for business July 8, Encore Boston Harbor reopened July 12 and MGM Springfield began accepting bets July 13. All three casinos reopened with a reduced capacity and with social distancing measures in place.

Through the first few weeks of gaming, the three properties reported $45 million in gross gaming revenue, according to numbers released by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Monday.

The state government took $6.74 million in taxes in July, but before the pandemic, the state was collected roughly $20 million per month in taxes from the casinos.