Finally, all three of Massachusetts’s casinos will be open by July 13th. It has been a long wait for Massachusetts resident gamblers, and an even longer wait for casino employees. Yesterday, Plainridge Park opened with a feeling of good vibes. Let’s just say the Plainridge Park Re-Opening was a Success.
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Plainridge Park Re-Opening was a Success
Plainridge VP and general manager Lance George commented about three hours after the Plainridge opened. “Everybody is in a good mood, everybody is happy. It’s great that we got people back to work. Across the board, both on the employee side as well as the customer side, it’s been very easy. Any issues, people have been more than understanding.”
Plainridge opted to reopen in the middle of the week. George said “it allows a chance to work out any kinks in the operation or in the safety plan before the weekend.”
Plainridge “Just Gets No Respect”
Plainridge Park and Raceway in Plainville, a slots-only casino, was the first casino in Massachusetts. Now, it’s the first casino to re-open after closing due to COVID-19. Plainridge Park has always been a bit of an enigma. It’s the smallest of the three Massachusetts casinos with no table games. However, they do offer electronic table games.
Unfortunately, most gamblers in New England, let alone in Massachusetts, don’t take Plainridge Park seriously. Plainridge Park isn’t even included the many casino conversations.
Slot Machines, Electronic Table Games and Drinks
A limited number of slot machines are working. Plainridge VP and general manager Lance George reported that, ““We’ll have roughly half our games in play, we’ll have about 750 or 760 games.” Slots will be spaced at least 6 feet apart or have a 6-foot tall clear plastic partition separating players.”
However, changes in beverage service is disappointing. Beverage service on the gaming floor will include water, coffee, soft drinks and beer only to coincide with Phase Three.
Also, Massachusetts Gaming Commission added one more protocol for all Massachusetts gambling halls. Any beverage ordered while gaming must be consumed while seated at machine. Walking around with beverages is strictly forbidden.
What’s Open? What’s Not?
Good news for harness racing enthusiasts and race book guest is that live racing resumed on July 5. The first-floor simulcast is open and the racing schedule can be found here.
Dunkin’ Donuts, Smash Burger and Slice are open. All food must be eaten at the Food Court. Food is not allowed on the gaming floor.
So What’s Not Open?
- Slacks, Flutie’s Sports Pub and Revolution Lounge will remain closed.
- The Gift Shop, Valet, Dark Horse Bar, Trackside and second floor will also be closed.
- All live entertainment and banquet services will remain suspended at this time.
An Unexpected Dilemma
As reported by Colin A. Young/State House News Service, Plainridge Park has one pandemic-related issue. It quickly became a bit of a headache – a national coin shortage. A slowdown in coin production at the U.S. Mint, as well as a shift towards mobile or digital payments caused this dilemma.
“We’ll probably be running a promotion for our customers and our employees to bring in their change and we’ll exchange it for them at no cost,” George said. “We placed our order, we only received a small percentage of that coin order.”
Massachusetts Gaming Commission Protocols
All guests visiting Plainridge Park must enter through the valet entrance, in front of the property. Limited capacity means only 2,100 people instead of their usual capacity of 5,800.
Installation of floor decals, plexiglass and signage hope to strictly enforce social distancing guidelines. In addition to mandatory face covering, staff will conduct daily health screening and temperature checks. Digital temperature checks include your visual image which will aid in contact tracing.
Governor Baker Adds More Limitations
In addition to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission Guidelines, the Governor’s guidelines for the Phase 3 opening include self quarantines. Visitors traveling from states other than New England, New York, and New Jersey must self-quarantine for 14 days.
Staff heard many positive comments from patrons. Casino Hours: Monday – Friday: 7 a.m. – 2 a.m., Saturday & Sunday: 24 hours. They will close from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Friday for deep cleaning and sanitizing.