MGA extends temporary shutdown of Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park until May 4

Consistent with Gov. Charlie Baker’s (R) recent order to extend a stay-at-home advisory until the first week of May, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Friday voted to add another month to the temporary shutdown of the state‘s three commercial casinos.

Held remotely due to the fast-spreading coronavirus, the unanimous vote by the Gaming Commission keeps Wynn Resorts‘ Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Resorts International‘s MGM Springfield and Gaming and Leisure Properties‘ Plainridge Park, closed to the public until noon on May 4.

“This, of course, continues to be such extraordinarily challenging and complex times.”

Simulcasting not exempt:

The temporary shutdown also applies to onsite simulcasting and betting on horse racing at Suffolk Downs, Plainridge Racecourse and Raynham Park, while online account wagering remains available.

Prior to May 4, the commission will reportedly meet again to assess the shutdown.

In hopes of slowing the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, in a special meeting on Saturday, March 14 state regulators voted to close all three casinos until 7BALL at least March 29. However, after reassessing the situation, on March 25 the Commission voted to extend the shutdown to April 7.

Governor Baker’s order closes all nonessential businesses and limits social gatherings to 10 people, but allows employees to work remotely and restaurants to provide take-out service and deliveries.

According to an April 3 report from MassLive, Chairwoman for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Cathy Judd-Stein, said…

“This, of course, continues to be such extraordinarily challenging and complex times.”

Pay extension:

After first announcing it would pay all of its employees for 30 days, Wynn Resorts announced on April 1, that it will continue paying all salaried, hourly and part-time employees in both Massachusetts and Las Vegas through May 15.

“It is our shared responsibility to follow the direction of health and safety professionals to stay home, and limit social contact,” said Matt Maddox, Chief Executive Officer for Wynn Resorts. “We owe it to each other, our families and to our community.”

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According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (doc), as of April 4, 2020, there have been 11,737 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) reported (of 68,800 tested) in the state and a total of 216 deaths. In 2019, the New England state’s population was 6.93 million.

Escalating crisis:

In a prepared statement on the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s website,  Judd-Stein commented on the decision to extend the shutdowns…

“That swift action was taken after up-to-date consultation with public health experts and our licensees, who like the Commission, prioritized the health and well-being of casino guests, employees, and regulators.

“At MGC, our hearts are heavy about COVID-19’s growing impact across our great Commonwealth, the nation, and the world.”

In a March 19 press release on the economic impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. casino industry, American Gaming Association (AGA) President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Miller said…

“In total, these mass closures will rob the U.S. economy of $43.5 billion in economic activity if American casinos remain closed for the next eight weeks.