BOSTON, June 23, 2020 (State House News Service) – It wasn’t without a bit of grumbling from operators, but the Massachusetts Gaming Commission finalized its minimum health and safety standards for the reopening of the engine room State slot machines and tourist casinos on Tuesday.
The commission had already established a number of requirements last week: no poker, craps or roulette until further notice, blackjack-style gaming tables will be limited to three players, and players must wear something to cover their nose and mouth. upon entering and while in the playing area, except for a drink, but settled the final details before unanimously adopting the guidelines on Tuesday.
There were four unresolved issues from last week: how to enforce the commission’s plan to limit beverage service, and thus an exception to the mask rule, to people who actively play, how to best guarantee distance appropriate or a physical barrier between slot machines, how high the physical barriers should be on the table and how to set the general occupancy limits of the building.
Commissioners agreed that players will not be allowed to carry or drink a drink while moving in the game room and that licensees must make all reasonable efforts to ensure that guests do not violate that rule. Some commissioners said they were concerned that allowing guests to walk with a drink in hand would be too similar to a bar, which cannot open until Phase 4 of the state’s reopening.
Seth Stratton, vice president and general counsel for MGM Springfield, told the commission that his company understands that it does not want players to lower their masks to drink a drink as they walk through the game room, but does not see the wisdom behind preventing players from Guests simply take their drink to another gaming position.
“Walking with a drink is a little more difficult for us and more difficult to understand the public health concern of someone wearing a mask taking their drink from one position to another without consuming it,” he said. “That’s where our biggest challenge lies.”
The commission also agreed to require that there be a six foot distance between active slot machines or that licensees install a plexiglass or similar barrier at least six feet high between the machines. For table games, the plexiglass barriers that separate the dealers and the players, and the players from other players, must be at least 5 feet 10 inches high.
For occupancy limits, the commission decided on a formula that will count the number of active gaming positions available, multiply it by three, and then add the number of employees in the gaming area and the capacity of casino services, such as restaurants , according to the existing state. reopening of regulations.
(© Copyright 2020 State House News Service)