Massachusetts Gaming Regulators Still Pondering State Of Poker

Massachusetts Gaming Regulators Still Pondering State Of Poker

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission reportedly is still receiving some complaints from poker players in the state over a relative lack of card games.

According to a local report from WAMC Northeast Public Radio, regulators are looking to find out more next month about why Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield have continued to scale back their respective poker room offerings.

“Gaming Commission Chair Cathy Judd-Stein suggested last week the casino operators should come prepared to discuss poker issues when they present their quarterly reports in August,” the report said.

There are currently about 30 poker tables in the state between the two casinos, down from roughly 100 before the pandemic started. Operating hours are also limited compared to before COVID-19 arrived. The state’s third casino, Plainridge Park, doesn’t have poker.

Per the report, Encore’s 12-table poker room will soon expand its hours. The poker room is currently open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Most poker players are used to 24/7 poker rooms, and that’s what it was at Encore pre-COVID.

“I didn’t want to steal their [Encore’s] thunder, but I think it’s forthcoming in a very short period of time,” Burke Cain, assistant chief gaming agent with the MGC, reportedly said. “It’s going to be expanded to some weekend hours and little bit longer hours, I understand.”

MGM Springfield’s poker room is currently open seven days a week, 10 a.m.-3 a.m. It’s unclear if MGM Springfield is looking to expand its room’s hours.