New England Gamblers are giddy with anticipation. Our summer visitors from across the country look forward to their summer in the northeast. It’s finally time to crawl out from our covid confinement. May has proved to be the portal to a more normal experience at our nine casinos than we’ve seen since March of 2020. Here are 8 Reasons Casinos And Patrons are Optimistic for the Summer of 2021.
All Signs Are Pointing to a Great Summer
1. Almost 50% of Americans Have Received at Least One Dose
- New England states have above 55% with at least one dose
- Vermont and Massachusetts are the only states in the US with over 60% of residents with at least one dose
- Maine leads the nation with 48% completely vaccinated
- 5 New England states are in the top 14% of the country completely vaccinated. The only New England State not in the mix – New Hampshire.
2. Another Reason For Optimism – Air Transportation is on the Rise
The Transportation Security Administration reported that slightly more than 1.7 million people were screened at airport checkpoints on Mother’s Day this year, the highest number since March 2020. As a result, American residents who love to travel to gambling destinations now feel the need to travel and feel safe travel is improving. The timing couldn’t be better for the hospitality business. And gambling destinations such as Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and New England can’t wait for the usual glut of summer tourism.
3. Las Vegas Casino Visitation Is Positive Sign For New England
McCarran Airport reports more people are flying in as businesses increase capacity. Since March, the Las Vegas Strip has seen a dramatic increase in visitors. Venues and clubs are starting to consider reopening. Pools and some headliners have already returned. Las Vegas casinos continue to be optimistic as COVID-19 numbers decrease across the country, encouraging more and more tourists to venture out and visit Las Vegas. If people are willing to fly to Las Vegas, tourists will be willing to fly to visit New England’s nine casinos this summer. National connections with MGM, Bally’s, Wynn, and Mohegan Sun should entice travelers to visit the northeast.
Casinos And Patrons are Optimistic for the Summer of 2021
4. Foxwoods First to Greatly Loosen Pandemic Protocols
Of the 8 reasons bringing optimism to the northeast, Foxwoods taking away some protocols is causing a surge in confidence. With more adults becoming vaccinated and COVID-19 state restrictions being relaxed across Connecticut and the Northeast, Foxwoods Resort Casino is carefully beginning to lift most of its COVID-19 protocols across its resort this month.
- Facial masks will still be required throughout the property.
- All slot machines will be on and ready for play.
- Capacity restrictions will slowly lift across table games, restaurants, theaters, events, and retail shops.
- Supporting health measures remaining to include continuous advanced cleaning of high-touch areas and social distancing where appropriate.
“The strategic rollback plan for our COVID-19 measures is highly calculated and thoughtfully timed to ensure we do this right and keep our resort safe,”Jason Guyot, President and CEO of Foxwoods Resort Casino
Jason Guyot, President and CEO of Foxwoods Resort Casino has been working closely with Mashantucket Pequot Chief Medical Officer Dr. Setu Vora on refining the resort’s plans. Guyot reported that “Except for face masks, all protocols will be lifted by or before May 19, aligning with Connecticut’s plans. We will closely monitor our approach but are ready to introduce a safe and more relaxed ‘next to normal’ environment for our guests and team members ahead of summer.”
5. Entertainment and Dining Options Increasing
Major League Baseball allowing partial capacities of fans to watch the games brings hope to other places, inside and out. Entertainment venues are figuring out the opening with small numbers as the vaccine provides more encouragement for indoor concerts and outdoor events such as BBQ fests and Food Trucks.
MGM Springfield brings back its outdoor concert series, and Mohegan Sun may be having its Summer on the Rooftop series.
We are still waiting for the large stages for concerts to open. Mohegan Sun Arena, MassMutual Center, Fox theater and the Grand theater, and Twin River Event Center usually host headline entertainment monthly, if not weekly. DJs and Comedians are the only options prevalent at this time.
6. Casino Capacities Increasing – Patrons are Optimistic
New England’s Casinos can increase the number of patrons inside and their dining and retail stores. Current meeting limits as of May 11th:
- Connecticut – expect to lift capacity limits on most businesses on May 19.
- Maine – Casinos can operate with an occupancy of 50%, 5 persons per 1,000 square feet, or 50 persons – whichever is greater. Maine will raise capacity to 75% on May 24.
- Massachusetts: – Casino occupancy is capped at 40% of occupancy limits.
- New Hampshire – State mandates on capacity inside and out have been changed to no restrictions.
- Rhode Island – remains at 50%
What is extremely encouraging is that revenues represent pre-Covid numbers at most casinos, especially in Massachusetts.
7. Family Activities Continue to Open
Family activities and places are reopening in anticipation for the summer.
Foxwoods – All rides and family activities are now open, except for the HighFlyer ZipLine and The Pequot Museum. Both are opening soon, however.
MGM Springfield – Regal Theatres is reopening three of its Massachusetts locations, closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mohegan Sun – Game On continues its opening.
8. More Seats at Table Games, Less Plexiglass
“Tear that plexiglass down” – and it’s now happening, with more seats available as well. Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods poker rooms opening have been a great draw, and poker players have overwhelmingly responded. After August 1st, the Bay State casinos will evaluate reinstating it after Gov. Baker expectedly pulls back all restrictions. 8 Reasons Casinos And Patrons are Optimistic
Meanwhile, patrons must wear face masks, even if vaccinated. But, more slots are becoming available, and capacity seating at the tables is growing.
Yes, Patrons are Optimistic for the Summer of 2021 to be the closest to normalcy at our nine casinos since March 2020. Finally, we are turning the corner. That tunnel light is getting bigger and brighter. So starting making your plans – it only gets better from here.