Massachusetts Casinos Wait To Reopen But Is It Worth It?

Massachusetts Casinos Wait To Reopen looks at why Massachusetts lags behind other New England states. Around the country, states are struggling to open after the coronavirus epidemic. The nation’s casinos are caught between

  • employing thousands of workers,
  • supplying revenue for state budgets and
  • still offer a safe environment for guests and staff.

Massachusetts hasn’t opened its casinos yet. Meanwhile, Connecticut and Rhode Island casinos are. Maine continues to be closed until further notice.

Massachusetts Casinos Reopening in July
Sooner or Later

Related Post – Amazing Comeback by Massachusetts Casinos

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Wants It Done Right.

In 2013, Steve Wynn once called the Massachusetts guidelines for attaining a license the most challenging and complex he’d ever faced. His vast experience in gaming speaks volumes. Yet, Massachusetts maintains how difficult attaining and keeping a gaming license could be.

The commission stood by its strict rules approving licenses in 2013. Consequently, in 2020, they stand by their strict rules for an opening during the pandemic. However, the MGC recently pushed casino openings in Massachusetts to July. Massachusetts Gambling Commission spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said, “As we all continue to navigate this unprecedented and rapidly evolving situation, the MGC remains focused on its regulatory duties, maintaining operational functionality with the assistance of technology.”

Massachusetts Casinos Reopening in July – Can You Blame Them?

When the Massachusetts Gambling Law was approved, the Pilgrim state’s Gaming Commission insisted on taking time to “get it right.” In New England, Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods, Twin River & Tiverton look to open in June. Furthermore, many changes in the health and safety of employees and guests are already implemented.

Let’s remember. This tact enabled the MGC to make all three casinos in Massachusetts non-smoking. We see more and more casinos across the country becoming non-smoking due to the pandemic. Even Foxwoods & Mohegan’s openings today and tomorrow are non-smoking. In the future, we may see more innovations mandated by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission after they wait and watch other casino openings.

Some Changes May Be Drastic

According to Colin Young at WBZ in Boston, things might be very different initially. “For one thing, the casinos might not be open 24/7 right out of the gate. Brian Gullbrants, president of Encore Boston Harbor, said, “Encore was looking into the possibility of limiting the number of days it is open.” Patrick Madamba, counsel to MGM, also said data from other MGM casinos could determine whether we want to limit the hours of that facility.”

Waiting for Massachusetts Casinos Reopening Hard on Employees

“It’s not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It’s the customer who pays the wages.”

Henry Ford

Here’s a quick look at the three casinos and their handling staff benefits.

MGM Springfield

Massachusetts Casinos Reopening in July
MGM Springfield

At the onset of the pandemic, MGM International is paying for benefits for all eligible employees through June 30. But what about July or later? Jim Kinney from MassLive reported, “Expect most of the 2,000 or so employees at MGM Springfield during the coming days to join the flood of dislocated workers filing unemployment claims. Furthermore, furloughed workers at Springfield could lose their jobs permanently if MGM International does not quickly recover.

Plainridge Park

Penn National, owner of Plainridge Casino and Raceway in Plainville, Massachusetts, took a different approach. They said it was necessary to furlough employees because multiple states have issued orders requiring businesses to close.

View From Harbor Walk

Encore Boston Harbor

Encore Boston Harbor had initially taken care of its employees. Encore’s parent company, Wynn Resorts, spent roughly $220 million providing full pay to all employees across North America. It also included average distributed tips and benefits from the original closure date through May 31. Unfortunately, Encore Boston Harbor plans to furlough about 10 percent of its full-time workforce. And they will not be paying their extra part-time workers as the casino remains closed.


Waiting makes employees suffer. If an additional spike does happen, which scientists predicted for last summer, Massachusetts plans may change again. Let’s hope we are all on the road to recovery.


3 thoughts on “Massachusetts Casinos Wait To Reopen But Is It Worth It?”

  1. Binbin, thank you for covering these issues. I’m an epidemiologist and casino lover, but I have to say, I would not gamble with my health simply because the odds are bad. It splits about like this: of those who get infected with COVID-19, about a third have no symptoms, about a third have symptoms that are not bad enough to go the hospital, and the last third go to the hospital and are really sick (and can die).

    If you are inside a structure with a lot of COVID-19 (e.g., where people who are infected are lounging, breathing and eating), if you get infected and get symptoms, they tend to be more violent. This is likely the reason health care workers get very sick when they do.

    These are not good odds for us casino goers! If somehow they could move the slot machines and tables outside, I would take the chance, as I have a good immune system, and the virus has some difficulty infecting people in an outdoor setting. But until I can be assured that everyone inside a building I’m going to be inside with for a while is negative for COVID-19, I will pass. I guess everyone has to make their own personal choice.

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