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Massachusetts Casinos Likely Won't Reopen Poker Rooms Until 2022

Regulators Removed All Remaining COVID-Induced Restrictions Starting This Weekend, But Operators Won't Commit To Bringing Poker Back


Massachusetts gaming regulators are removing all COVID-19-induced restrictions on the Bay State’s gaming operators this weekend.

On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted 4-0 to remove the remaining restrictions. According to a report from the Berkshire Eagle, the move will allow the state’s two casinos and one slot parlor to return to normal pre-pandemic gambling conditions.

“We are really hoping that this is, again, a sustainable re-opening for you all and we wish you the very best and wish all the patrons and employees much health and safety,” said Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein after the vote.

With the vote, all the plexiglass dividers, limits of number of players at the table, and social distancing requirements will be removed. Unfortunately for poker players, neither the MGM Springfield nor Encore Boston Harbor have announced that the poker rooms will reopen.

When regulators allowed Massachusetts casinos to start operating again in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, they prohibited properties from spreading craps, roulette and poker, citing safety concerns around social distancing and the touching of surfaces constantly used by all players and staff involved.

In March, regulators relaxed some of their mandates and allowed casinos to spread those games again, but capped the number of people at the table, including the dealer, at four. Executives at Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield said that it would not be profitable to spread poker games that shorthanded.

Even with the restrictions now in the rearview mirror, poker players in the state may have to wait until 2022 before the poker rooms are open again.

“We’re continuing to monitor needs for poker and whether we will bring that back,” MGM Springfield Compliance Director Daniel Miller told the Berkshire Eagle. “We too have decided to make a decision by or around December 31.”

Massachusetts isn’t the only state removing all restrictions. The Nevada Gaming Control Board announced that it is making the same move and removing any remaining mandates on June 1.



over 1 year ago

Who cares. Neither of these rooms are playable and both failed to develop a player base due to their failing operations, terrible dealers, and let's just be honest it is not safe to go anywhere near MGM Springfield, unless you're packing...


over 1 year ago

Afraid of MGM, LOL.....I played there all the time. Great room. Never a problem in Springfield, used to walk downtown to Theodores for BBQ all the time. If you are scared of that you should be scared of what goes on in Mohegan and Foxwood's parking garages at night. That's where you need to pack.


over 1 year ago

I thought it was a great room! What did the dealers do that made them so terrible?? Just curious your prospective!


1 year ago

Casinos are losing a ton of money by telling them selfs slots are more profitable, guess what there’s already enough machines for slot players and there losing money because most poker players eat drink and play other table games and there could be another 15-20 people back to work per casino instead people have to drive to New Hampshire to play any type of tournaments or cash games!