he Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted Thursday to allow the return of roulette at MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor, but with precautions against the spread of the coronavirus.
The commission voted 5-0 to allow roulette to resume, with commissioners saying they believe the new conditions, drafted in June and finalized Thursday, will protect patrons and dealers, Mass Live reports.
The commission said the addition of roulette is being done without raising existing occupancy limits. Encore has been inspected and began play Thursday, having done the needed renovations, a commission spokeswoman said. MGM Springfield’s preparations were scheduled for inspection Friday, she said.
No more than 16 roulette tables are permitted at Encore Boston Harbor, and no more than seven are permitted at MGM Springfield.
Commission Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein was among members praising the casinos for their compliance with COVID-19 regulations and guidelines since the casinos reopened in early July. The casinos have slots and various approved table games, but the addition of roulette comes at a “time where this is reasonable and acceptable,” she said.
In addition, both casinos will be able to rehire many dealers and employees who were laid off during the pandemic, commission members said. No number was provided for MGM, but Encore plans to rehire 60 people.
Commission member Gayle Cameron said the casinos asked to resume roulette and the commission adopted “appropriate measures and perhaps stronger than anywhere else.” Under the COVID-19 restrictions adopted Thursday, no further bets can be placed once the roulette wheel is spun and the ball is in play. The dealer will signal by waving his hand over the table and say “in a clear and concise voice, ‘No more bets,’” the amended rules state.
The casino must install plexiglass dividers and keep a set distance between seats in order to resume roulette, along with other requirements. Before resuming roulette play, there must be a state inspection.
The requirements for roulette, as adopted by the commission, include:
- There is a maximum of three players per roulette table.
- Players must remain seated while gambling and cannot congregate around roulette tables.
- Players must be separated by plexiglass barriers at least 6 feet high, and the dealer will also be separated by plexiglass.
- Chips must be sanitized each time they go to the cage, and hand sanitizer must be available at each table.