August 26, 2021 2:34 am
At least one poker room in Massachusetts will finally reopen before the end of 2021.
At the last meeting of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission a representative from MGM Springfield, one of three casinos in the state, informed regulators that the property would be reopening its poker room at some point between October and the end of the year.
Daniel Miller, director of casino compliance for MGM Springfield was quoted as saying at the meeting ““So, really, I think our first statement is that poker will be returning to MGM Springfield. We have plans that it will come back in Q4 of this year.”
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However, when the poker room at MGM Springfield does reopen it will look different than it did prior to the pandemic. Before the pandemic the poker room housed 28 poker tables. When it reopens that number will be reduced to somewhere between 10 and 12 tables.
The only other live poker room in the state is found at the Encore Boston Harbour Casino. They have not yet announced their plans for the reopening of their poker room, but last month they did state that under their new conditions they needed to prioritize space and may need to move or close slot machines or table game for poker to return.
Representatives from the Encore also said a labour shortage was making it hard for them to find the necessary number of dealers and staff to reopen the poker room the same way it was previously run. When, and maybe if the Encore reopens their poker room it will most likely be at a reduced capacity.
The announcement by MGM Springfield that their poker room will reopen by the end of the year comes after the Commission announced in July that they had seen a large increase in complaints from the public, many centered on the lack of live poker in the state. The Commission then required the casinos to examine the reasons behind the poker rooms remaining closed, which likely led to the new announcement by MGM Springfield.