he Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Wednesday voted to extend the shutdown of the state’s three casinos to April 7 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The unanimous vote extends the existing two-week shutdown, originally set to end March 29, by nine days, bringing it in line with the ordered shutdown of non-essential businesses in Massachusetts by Gov. Charlie Baker. The casino shutdown is until noon on April 7, but will be evaluated prior to that date, the commission ruled, as reported by Mass Live.
MGM Springfield, Plainridge Park and Encore Boston Harbor all closed on March 15 for at least two weeks, as directed by the Gaming Commission, to help protect the public from the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
“The health and safety of our employees, their families, and the community is our number one concern,” Chris Kelley, president of MGM Springfield, said in a statement. “As COVID-19 continues to place unprecedented demand on the region, MGM Springfield will remain engaged with the local community to support frontline workers, organizations and residents most impacted.”
The five-member commission met in a telephone conference Wednesday to discuss to status of the three gaming facilities. After Wednesday’s planning meeting, potential future phone meetings to conduct commission business are proposed this Thursday, and on April 9. The agenda will be set at the planning meeting.
Some of the issues slated for discussion at the proposed Thursday meeting include: Plainridge Park racecourse’s request for approval of racing officials ad key operating personnel; and a discussion of Plainridge Park’s live racing kick-off, according to the commission’s agenda planning notes.
In addition, the discussion is slated to include a GameSense report related to problem gambling and related issues; a request by the Encore casino to delay the launch of the “Play My Way” program; and a Springfield Lottery Impact study; and an MGM enhanced code of ethics, the commission notes state.