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Covid and Gov Baker Strike Another Blow To Mass Casinos

COVID-19 is not miraculously going away. Spikes in hospitalizations and deaths due to the pandemic are still part of our day to day life. Yesterday, Massachusetts Gov. Baker announced additional measures to disrupt the increasing trend of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Get ready for more disruption in your daily lives, from work to leisure, and that includes your casino time in Massachusetts. Here is Covid and Gov Baker Strike Another Blow To Mass Casinos

Covid and Gov. Baker Strike Another Blow To Mass Casinos
Gov. Charlie Baker

Stay-at Home Advisory and Early Business Closures

For the rest of November, two policies will hit the already limping Massachusetts casinos hard. The Administration issued a revised Stay At Home Advisory. The intent is to ensure residents avoid unnecessary activities that can increase COVID-19 transmission by staying home between 10 PM and 5 AM. The Advisory allows for activities such as going to work, running critical errands to get groceries, addressing health needs, and taking a walk.

“The data points to a clear need to do something about these trends now. What we should not do to deal with these trends is to shut down the economy or close our schools. The simple truth is this — too many of us have become complacent in our daily lives. We’re doing much better than many other states, but here too, we’ve let down our guard and have work to do.”

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

For the latest information on COVID-19 Cases, Travel, & Reopening, CLICK HERE

Covid and Gov. Baker Strike Another Blow To Mass Casinos

Governor Baker issued a new executive order that requires the early closure of certain businesses and activities each night at 9:30 PM. The 9:30 PM closure requirement is aligned with the Stay At Home Advisory. Casinos and horse tracks/simulcast facilities are included in the many events and venues that will be affected.

Not Just In Massachusetts

Most casinos across the country are struggling to get gamblers back, and New England is no exception. While Connecticut’s tribal casinos have seen a lull and decrease in visitation and revenue, numbers are still below expectations. In response to a spike in the coronavirus across eastern Connecticut, both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun decided to continue operating at 25% capacity, even though Gov. Ned Lamont moved to phase 3 on Oct. 8, easing some restrictions. This was both a responsible and socially considerate move by both tribes.

Massachusetts Has Had a Tough Casino Expansion

The process of getting three casinos over the last seven years has not been an easy one in Massachusetts. Revenue has not equaled expectations. With other casinos falling by the wayside, the MGC felt they had the three that would bring back the revenue from competing states. Nonetheless, the road to this point has but a bumpy one.

Impact On Casinos – Covid and Gov. Baker Strike Another Blow To Mass Casinos

Covid and Gov. Baker Strike Another Blow To Mass Casinos
Encore Boston Harbor View from South Lawn

The impact on Massachusetts Casinos will be largely on the weekends. This is when the three casinos try to make most of their revenue back. All three have seen sparse crowds during the week. And now, when the crowds come for dining or gambling, they will have to leave by 9:30.

Concerning dining, restaurants (in-person dining) must cease at 9:30 PM. Takeout and delivery may continue for food and non-alcoholic beverages, but not alcohol. Alcohol during dining is still allowed. Restaurants such as the recently opened Chandler at MGM Springfield will now shut down again or vary hours open.

Covid and Gov. Baker Strike Another Blow To Mass Casinos
Inside Chandler Steakhouse at MGM

Both hotels at Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield are now closed for November. Encore has closed its hotel until mid-December.

What Does This Mean to The Visitor?

If you want to support your Massachusetts casinos:

  • Restructure your visits for weekends. Start your visit earlier in the day.
  • Check websites for changes in restaurant times or closures.
  • If you have a host, discuss any possible changes immediately concerning dates that are now canceled. Again, consider the weekdays, if possible.
  • For promotions, check the casino websites in case anything has changed or be canceled.
  • Make restaurant reservations now for any available dates and times.
  • Finally, check for changes daily if you have a trip planned. Be flexible!

Summary

A double rainbow at Oxford Casino

Much like the rest of 2020, patience and persistence is the key to getting through our daily lives. Things could be worse. Hope is eternal. And remember the Patriot’s manta, “Do Your Job.” Do all you can do get us all through this.

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