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Massachusetts casinos cleared to lift COVID-19 restrictions

27 May 2021

(PRESS RELEASE) -- During a remote public meeting on 26 May 2021, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted to rescind COVID-19-related orders for gaming establishments and horse racing and simulcasting facilities.

In a 4-0 vote, the Commission rescinded the following COVID-19-related orders related to Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield, and Encore Boston Harbor, effective at 12:01 a.m. on 29 May 2021:
  • The 6/23/2020 order entitled Minimum Requirements for the Initial Phase 3 Opening of Gaming Establishments
  • The 10/8/2020 order entitled Minimum Requirements for the Reintroduction of Roulette at the Category 1 Gaming Establishments
  • The 3/11/2021 order entitled Minimum Requirements for (1) Expanding Blackjack-Style Tables to Include a 4th Player Position and (2) the Reintroduction of Craps at the Category 1 Gaming Establishments
These orders will be rescinded subject to the following conditions, which were agreed to by the gaming licensees:

1. The licensees shall conduct business in accordance with all COVID-19-related orders and advisories issued by the Governor or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that remain in effect, as well as any applicable CDC guidelines.

2. The licensees will ensure their pandemic safety officer remains in place until further notice.

3. The licensees will continue to report any positive COVID-19 tests related to the gaming establishment to the MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) and their respective local boards of health.

4. The licensees will continue to work cooperatively with the IEB to ensure the relevant guidance and practices are being followed.

“It’s been 15 months since the Gaming Commission convened with all three casino licensees in a virtual setting to discuss the rapid reach of the coronavirus pandemic,” MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein said. “The three gaming licensees have cooperated fully throughout this process, working always to serve the public’s interests and protect their patrons and employees.”

“We thank Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield, and Encore Boston Harbor for their compliance and dedication to health and safety during this difficult period,” Chair Judd-Stein continued. “I also wish to extend my sincere gratitude to the entire MGC team for its consistent commitment over the last 15 months.”

In separate 4-0 votes, the Commission also allowed horse racing and simulcasting licensees, including Plainridge Park Casino, Raynham Park, and Suffolk Downs, to rescind their respective MGC-approved COVID-19-related reopening plans.

These plans will be rescinded subject to the following conditions, which were agreed to by the licensees:

1. They shall conduct business in accordance with all COVID-19-related orders and advisories issued by the Governor or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that remain in effect, as well as any applicable CDC guidelines.

2. The licensees will ensure their pandemic safety officer remains in place until further notice.

3. The licensees will continue to report any positive COVID-19 tests related to the racing facility to the MGC’s Division of Racing and their respective local boards of health.

4. The licensees will continue to work cooperatively with the MGC’s Director of Racing to ensure the relevant guidance and practices are being followed.

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