Massachusetts is the next in line to reopen its casinos after this process started in May. Casinos were shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak, and now are slowly coming back to life.
However, they will offer limited options for gamblers to adhere to social distancing guidelines provided by state regulators. The three casinos that will open their doors again in Massachusetts will not offer poker because of that.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission made the final adjustments to the guidelines that the casinos need to follow as a part of the reopening process. One of the most important decisions is that gamblers should not be allowed to carry their beverages with them while they are inside of a casino.
However, the majority of rules were made for games, and the Gaming Commission decided to really narrow down possible gambling options in land-based casinos. The games that you’ll not be able to play in casinos until further notice are craps, roulette, and poker.
On the other hand, players will be able to enjoy blackjack, but the maximum number of players that can sit at the same table is capped at three. Moreover, those who want to play blackjack will have to accept the fact that there would be plexiglass dividers between them and the dealer to ensure maximum safety.
Possible Reopening Scenarios For Poker Rooms
Many casinos in the US adopted different measures to lower the spread of the COVID-19 disease among the staff and the visitors. For example, as soon as some poker rooms in Florida reopened, they immediately placed plexiglass dividers on poker tables.
Since the regulators in Massachusetts are extremely careful about this, it wouldn’t come as surprising to see poker rooms in the state reopen with the dividers.
In other words, the regulators will force Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield to adhere to the safety guidelines if they want to reopen parts of the property where players can play poker cash games and tournaments.
Poker, roulette, and craps will not be allowed until the regulator feels it’s safe enough to do it. Therefore, we could expect them to reopen as soon as the Massachusetts Gaming Commission decides to relax some of the regulations related to land-based casinos and social distancing.
When it comes to slots, they will be available to all players but will be regularly cleaned (every four hours). Moreover, they will be spaced throughout the gaming floor, so that there’s enough distance between the players.
Massachusetts is a newcomer to the gambling industry. It only hosts three land-based casinos, but there are numerous racinos around the state, where visitors can play slots.
The biggest casino in the state is Encore Boston Harbor, which is still fairly new as it was opened in 2019. It did not work for a full year before it had to close its doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The only other casino in the state that operates a poker room is MGM Springfield, which is also fairly new as it was built two years before Encore Boston Harbor.
The casinos in the Bay State could reopen as soon as June 29. However, there is still no official news coming from Governor Charlie Baker. Therefore, casino goers in the area will have to wait a bit — but hopefully not for too long.
On the other hand, live poker fans will have to remain patient or continue playing online poker until its live counterpart is available. But then again, online poker is booming right now, as all major tournaments are on the web.