Massachusetts Casinos Will Remain Closed Until at Least April 7

Posted on: March 26, 2020, 09:48h. 

Last updated on: March 26, 2020, 10:59h.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) says the state’s three commercial casinos will remain closed until April 7.

Massachusetts casinos Encore Boston Harbor
Encore Boston Harbor and two other Massachusetts casinos remain closed. (Image: Jim Mahoney/Everett Leader Herald)

During the agency’s remote meeting on Wednesday, the five-member commission voted unanimously in favor of extending the mandatory gaming shutdown that was initiated on March 14.

The Commission will continue to review and assess the public health condition in cooperation with appropriate authorities and the gaming licensees and make a determination as to the status of operations in advance of April 7, 2020,” the MGC said.

Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park are the three casinos in Massachusetts. The Wynn Resorts property was first to shutter operations after a gambler who visited the casino later tested positive for COVID-19.

The casinos supported the ongoing closures in order to contain the coronavirus’ spread.

“The health and safety of our employees, their families, and the community is our number one concern,” said MGM Springfield President Chris Kelley. “As COVID-19 continues to place unprecedented demand on the region, MGM Springfield will remain engaged with the local community to support frontline workers, organizations, and residents most impacted.”

Coronavirus Assistance

The three Massachusetts gaming venues are doing what they can to aid their local communities during the health crisis.

Penn National Gaming, parent company of Plainridge Park, says it has donated 45 tons of perishable food to local food banks and relief organizations. The nation’s largest regional casino operator says it also donated surgical masks and gloves to first responders and healthcare workers.

MGM Resorts donated 12,000 pounds of food that would have been served at its Springfield resort to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and Open Pantry. Wynn donated to the Greater Boston Food Pantry and Grace Food Pantry in Everett.

“It’s been amazing, a revolving cycle of donations,” said Grace Food Pantry volunteer Matt Misci. “The lines have been long, but we’ve been able to answer the need.”

The MGC is doing its part, too. The commission said Wednesday that it received 40,000 pairs of gloves from its Racing Division that will be given to state police who work in the Gaming Enforcement Unit.

Relief Coming

All commercial casinos are closed across America, both voluntarily and by state orders. Help is on the way.

This week, the Senate passed a more than $2 trillion stimulus to help workers and businesses through the global health emergency. The gaming industry partnered with the travel and hospitality sectors to campaign for inclusion.

The package includes increased unemployment benefits, small business loans, and one-time $1,200 checks for individuals earning less than $75,000 per year (the payments continue for up to $99,000 per year earners at a reduced rate).

American Gaming Association President Bill Miller thanked the Senate for the relief package, but added, “If the industry remains shut down for two months, it will jeopardize the livelihoods of those individuals, as well as the 17,000 gaming supplier jobs and 350,000 American small business workers supported by the gaming industry.”