MGC wants to know why there is no poker in Massachusetts casinos

Poker games unprofitable due to COVID-related restrictions

The lifting of COVID-related restrictions in the US has allowed poker, one of the most popular table games, to resume. While states such as Nevada have resumed poker in full force, launching several events over the summer, this may not be the case for Massachusetts. Earlier this year, when capacity restrictions and other COVID-related restrictions were in effect, commercial casinos in the state opted not to bring poker back, arguing that playing with three or four players might not be profitable.

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Restrictions are going away, but poker is not coming back

Although all COVID-related restrictions were lifted by the Massachusetts Gambling Commission (MGC) back in May, poker still has not returned to gambling establishments. It was an odd move as operators decided to bring back other games such as craps or roulette, but poker was left behind.

A visit to MGM Springfield's website reveals a statement informing customers that the establishment's poker room is now closed. A similar statement is issued by Encore Boston Harbour. Both establishments are informing their customers that a decision on the return of poker games is expected by 31 December 2021.

While the poker issue is not resolved in Massachusetts, avid poker players can play at the Danish operator Poker Uden Om Rofus, there they will find clear guides on poker, as well as many other useful information.

With this in mind, the lack of poker games in Massachusetts has led to a significant increase in complaints related to the topic. In addition, some residents have even called for BGC to open poker parlours, believing that commercial operators have not brought poker games back. While the idea sounds appealing, last week the regulator reportedly rejected the possibility, stating that current legislation does not allow such venues.

Are operators obliged by law to resume poker?

Undoubtedly, poker remains a hot topic in Massachusetts. Last Wednesday, during a regulatory meeting, the MGC addressed the lack of poker games. Moreover, according to local news outlet WWLP, the regulator is currently reviewing whether casinos are required to offer poker games. In addition, the MGC is also looking into what powers it has over the game.

MGC chair Katie Judd-Stein asked the teams working on the matter to prepare details regarding the "legality and history of poker" and to confirm what powers the Commission has over poker in terms of game licensing. Judd-Stein asked what the responsibilities of commercial operators were and why they had not resumed the game of poker. Details on the subject could be made public as early as next Thursday, when the next MGC meeting is scheduled.