Massachusetts poker players are protesting the very slow restart after Codiv-19 with few tables open.
Unbelievable but true, Massachusetts poker players are still worried about the lack of gambling options in the state, with regulators admitting continued pressure on multiple tables. The slag of the pandemic is still very strong in this US state. While there are more than 5,000 slot machines and 200 table games available in slot rooms and casinos operating in the Bay State, there are only 29 poker tables in operation, about a third compared to before the pandemic. This could potentially lead the Gaming Commission to take action.
“I’m very concerned that live poker has picked up vigorously across the state while our offer is much lower,” Brad Hill, a member of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, said Tuesday. being able to play a little more poker in these facilities than he is allowed now, “he added, according to the State House News Service.
Hill’s remarks followed an update on operations at state gambling venues. Before the pandemic forced facilities to close in March 2020, the two Massachusetts casinos had a total of 95 poker tables: 74 at Encore Boston Harbor and 21 at MGM Springfield. These were open 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
The two casinos have reintroduced the game, which is very popular with players but less profitable for operators, following public protests from poker fans and pressure from the Gaming Commission. But not everything is as it once was: MGM was the first to bring poker back in October 2021, now operating only 14 tables a day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Encore followed suit by reintroducing poker in January. That venue now has 15 poker tables, about a fifth of the total in which it operated, open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Only Monday through Thursday. However, according to data collected by the Gaming Commission, Encore will soon announce extended game times, including weekend hours, but without the intention of adding tables yet to be announced.
In short, poker does not make or reopen. At the last meeting, Chair Cathy Judd-Stein suggested that the commission could devote more time at a future meeting to poker issues, amid a growing number of requests from players. Commissioners would look at the number of tables available, opening hours, waiting times for players and casino plans to expand their poker offers.
The Encore casino application stated that the venue would include an exclusive poker area “with 25 dedicated poker tables covering all variants of the most popular games.” And in the case of MGM Springfield, his question stated that the property would have “a poker room with 25 tables.” Is something moving? It seems.