Massachusetts Gaming Commission to weigh up Casino Reopening plans by weekend

Massachusetts Gaming Watchdog to weigh up Casino Reopening plans by weekend

Major casino operators in Massachusetts are have high hopes to resume operations as the state’s gaming watchdog is all set to review proposals for reopening of the multiple gaming facilities.

Authorities have confirmed that at least three commercial casinos in the state have submitted their preliminary reopening plans and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission could review them all in a public meeting that is expected to take place by this weekend.

Cathy Judd-Stein, chair of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, confirmed the development but stressed that ensuring public health would be their top priority as the commission was mulling plans to reopen casinos. Karen Wells, the commission’s interim executive director, said they were making preparations for the casinos’ eventual reopening.

MGM Springfield, Plainridge Park Casino and Encore Boston Harbor are the three casino companies that have either sent or will send their preliminary reopening plans to the state gaming regulators for review. Meanwhile, the gaming regulators are also following the statewide guidelines issued by the Massachusetts Reopening Advisory Board as well as Governor Charlie Baker’s office.

Judd-Stein, former deputy chief legal counsel for the governor’s office, said that their attention was focused on developing a restart plan but stressed that the timeline for reopening casinos was still uncertain.

Commenting on the development, he said, “The timeline to reopen is still uncertain; however, our attention is now focused on developing a responsible restart plan and maximizing this time to establish guidelines, in coordination and collaboration with key stakeholders, including the three licensees…”

Commissioner Enrique Zuniga recently brought to mind how the state commission formerly heard an option to offer gaming outside rather than inside gaming venues. As per that plan, the commission should allow gaming firms to install slot machines outside, in the grounds and allow players to smoke while playing their bets. But, that plan was never reviewed by the state regulators.

Separately, tribal casinos in Oklahoma and some other places were permitted to resume their operations, with certain safeguards to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.

Any casinos planning to resume operations will have to follow strict guidelines and safeguards. For example, there will be a strict limit on the number of players, all employees as well as players will have to wear face masks and use sanitizers to sanitize their hands, all will have to undergo temperature checks before entering the casino.