Massachusetts Curfews to End, Casinos Will Soon Resume 24/7 Operations

Posted on: January 22, 2021, 09:48h.

Last updated on: January 22, 2021, 10:12h.

The three casinos in Massachusetts will be able to resume operations around the clock on Monday, January 25.

Massachusetts casinos Encore Boston MGM Springfield
Massachusetts casinos Encore Boston MGM Springfield
Encore Boston Harbor will no longer need to force out guests at 9:30 pm. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has decided to rescind his nightly curfew. (Image: CBS Boston)

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) is lifting the 9:30 pm curfew that has required businesses, including casinos, to close at that time nightly. The governor cited improving COVID-19 case numbers, as well as the distribution of the vaccine, for his decision.

We all know that we are not out of the woods yet by any means. But things do appear to be getting a bit better here in Massachusetts,” Baker said. “While today’s announcement reflects another step toward normalcy, we still have a lot of work ahead of us to suppress the pandemic once and for all and to fully reopen our economy.

“These have been long and hard days for everybody. But our hospital system was able to continue to provide medical care for residents,” the governor concluded.

Along with casinos going 24/7, restaurants will be allowed to serve around the clock. Gyms, movie theaters, and other businesses are permitted as well.

Curfew Shuttered Casino Hotels

The nightly curfew went into effect on November 6. Since then, Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park have all been required to escort gamblers out of their facilities by 9:30 pm.

The nightly suspension of gaming operations led to Encore and MGM both deciding to close their resort hotels. That has resulted in ongoing furloughs and permanent job losses.

Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox said on the company’s earnings call in November that the curfew has “quite an impact.” Steve Wynn’s successor explained that the difficult decision was made to reduce overhead by way of fewer employees.

Maddox added that the curfew impacted as many as 1,000 workers at Wynn’s Massachusetts casino. MGM said a similar number of employees were affected at its casino in Springfield.

Plainridge Park is the state’s slots-only facility, and does not have an on-site hotel.

With Baker confirming that the curfew is being lifting on Monday, Encore Boston Harbor announced the reopening of its hotel. The casino is taking reservations for stays beginning next Thursday, January 28. MGM Springfield’s hotel has not yet announced a reopening date.

Casinos Betting on Pent-Up Demand

2020 was understandably a difficult year for the three Massachusetts casinos.

MGM Springfield’s gross gaming revenue tumbled more than 45 percent to $138 million. Plainridge Park saw its slot hold crash 46 percent. Encore Boston Harbor only opened in June of 2019, so there was not an available full year-over-year comparison.

The casinos can resume gaming around the clock, but they continue to be limited to 25 percent of their fire code capacity. None of the three casinos have hit that threshold in recent months and been forced to turn away gamblers.

As the vaccine continues to be administered, Maddox is optimistic that the gaming industry — both in Massachusetts and nationwide — will quickly return.

“There’s real consumer pent-up demand,” Maddox declared.

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