Massachusetts, Missouri Casinos to Remain Closed Through Mid-May

  • Both states are reviewing how casinos can reopen based on federal guidelines
  • Safe and healthy environment required for guests and employees in order to reopen
  • Casinos in Missouri may reopen after May 15, Massachusetts venues closed through May 18
  • Dates subject to change based on how the COVID-19 pandemic plays out over the next few weeks
Sign saying "Closed due to Covid-19"
The governors of Massachusetts and Missouri have confirmed that casinos will remain closed through mid-May. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Both states delaying casino reopenings

In Massachusetts and Missouri, decisions have been made to keep casinos closed through at least mid-May. As stay-at-home orders relax, both states have decided not to reopen gaming venues until a later date.

COVID-19 continues to pose a significant threat

After the Trump administration issued federal guidelines, governors across the United States began a consideration process on how to reopen non-essential businesses. The governors of both states decided to wait a bit longer before opening casino doors as COVID-19 continues to pose a significant threat.

Missouri loosens restrictions

In the state of Missouri, Governor Mike Parson has loosened stay-at-home orders. However, current business reopenings do not include casinos. All 13 casinos in the state may remain closed beyond May 15 depending on how the coronavirus pandemic plays out over the coming weeks.

According to Mike Leara, chairman of the Missouri Gaming Commission, the status of the virus will be reviewed that week and a decision will be made based on findings.

We’re going to reevaluate everything early that week. It could change.”

Casinos in Missouri shut down on March 17. Early estimates revealed the closure could cost the state as much as $60m in revenue. The money raised from casinos goes toward public school and university funding. A portion also goes to local units of government.

Massachusetts casinos closed through May 18

In Massachusetts, the state’s three casinos will remain closed through May 18. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission decided upon this date to parallel Governor Charlie Baker’s stay-at-home order extension. The order includes business closures.

The closure order began on March 14. MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor, and Plainridge Park Casino were all affected.

Commission chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein stated an internal ‘restart working group’ is in the works to develop a responsible restart plan for the casinos as well as the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s offices. Consideration must be given to the technical opening of the facilities as well as health and safety concerns.

Topics covered by the group will include enhancing sanitization procedures, training employees, occupancy limitations, and physical distancing.