For the time being, Massachusetts residents and visitors are provided with a large variety of gambling options. However, the options for poker lovers still remain pretty limited in the state.
According to reports, a combined number of 95 poker tables, which operated 24/7, were offered by MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor right before the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak. After the state authorities imposed various restrictions as part of the policies aimed at tackling the further spread of the coronavirus infection, the two iconic casinos temporarily stopped offering poker to their visitors.
MGM Springfield reinstated the poker options in October 2021, while Encore Boston Harbor reintroduced the game as part of its offering in January 2022. Several months later, a new report suggests that the Massachusetts regulatory body may seek to boost the number of poker tables, considering the very limited number available there to date.
Earlier this week, members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) held meetings with representatives of the three casinos across the state. As The Sun reported, the local gambling and casino regulatory body may be considering some options to boost the number of poker tables available at the 3 gambling venues in Massachusetts.
Cathay Judd-Stein, chair of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, explained that the watchdog was still receiving inquiries from local residents, asking when the competent authorities would finally expand the available poker options.
One of the members of Massachusetts’ gambling regulator, Brad Hill, has described the number of poker tables across the state as concerning. Poker services were resumed after the closures linked to the Covid-19 but there are currently only 29 poker tables available. A total of 14 poker tables are available at MGM Springfield, while Encore Boston Harbor offers the remaining 15 poker tables. Mr. Hill shared he remains hopeful that the regulatory body’s commissioners sent a clear message to gambling license holders and confirmed that he backed the proposed increase of poker tables in Massachusetts following many calls highlighting the need for expanded access.
According to Mr. Hill, the number of poker tables across the state seems quite small to date. He further stressed that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is trying to show its readiness to answer the calls for an increased number of poker tables. He believes that state residents and constituents would be happy if they were able to have access to bigger availability of poker tables at the facilities where such an offering is currently allowed.
For the time being, poker is being offered by MGM Springfield every day from 10:00 AM to 3:00 AM. As revealed by the official website of Encore Boston Harbor, the poker room at the venue operates between Monday and Thursday every week, with the 15 poker tables being available from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM. These working days and hours, however, seem to be far from enough in order to meet the rising demand in the state.