MassGaming to Discuss Return of Roulette, Craps, Poker at State Casinos


Members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will discuss this week whether the state’s two full-scale commercial casinos should be allowed to resume roulette and craps operations.

The regulator is set to consider and vote on the matter at a meeting scheduled to take place on Thursday, August 13.

Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield are Massachusetts full-blown casinos that offer both slot machines and table games. The two properties have asked the state gaming regulator to allow them to restart roulette and craps games, which they have not been permitted to offer to their patrons since they reopened in July.

Massachusetts three casinos, Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park Casino (a slots-only facility) were ordered to close in March to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. The properties were allowed to resume operations early last month, but have been operating at limited capacity since then.

They have also been required to follow extensive guidelines to protect guests and staff from contracting the coronavirus. Some of the measures Massachusetts’ casinos were ordered to implement include mandatory face masks, temperature checks, additional cleaning and disinfection efforts, and installation of plexiglass partitions between slot machines and at gaming tables.

Poker May Return, Too

According to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s agenda for its upcoming meeting, commission members will discuss the casinos’ craps and roulette reopening request and may also vote on the matter this coming Thursday.

In addition, members of the regulatory body are also expected to discuss the status of poker at the meeting. Just like roulette and craps, Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield were also not allowed to bring back poker when they reopened last month.

In a comment on the Gaming Commission’s agenda for its next meeting, MGM Springfield said Tuesday in a prepared statement that they appreciate the regulator’s “consideration of our request as we progress through a phased reopening with the health and safety of our employees and guests at the forefront of any decisions.”

The casino resort, located across three blocks in downtown Springfield, has told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission that it intends to have plexiglass dividers installed on its craps and roulette tables and implement physical distancing measures similar to those adopted at other table games and across its gaming floor.

In a report from late last month, Loretta Lillios, Chief Enforcement Counsel and Deputy Director of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, said that the first few weeks of operations since the casinos reopened went without major incidents in terms of compliance with the health and safety guidelines.

Ms. Lillios told fellow commissioners that she could count on one hand the number of times police officers assigned to the state’s three casinos had to intervene because a customer was not wearing a mask or other face covering.

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