Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker's curfew for less important businesses expired on Monday, January 25. Casinos, restaurants, cinemas and gyms no longer need to stop at 9:30 PM.
Encore and Plainridge will remain open 24/7 starting tomorrow, January 27th. MGM is waiting for two additional days. All three gaming floors remain limited to running at 25 percent of the fire code capacity.
The governor cited a 10 percent drop in COVID-19-related hospitalizations and a one-third drop in positive test rates as reasons for the end of the curfew.
With slot machines and table games that can run around the clock, the three casinos hope this is the beginning of a recovery in 2021. Encore is reopening its hotel from February 4. MGM announces that it will soon announce the reopening of its rooms.
Frustrated Rhode Island Casinos
Baker ending the curfew is welcomed at three Massachusetts casinos. But the competition in the neighboring state is less than thrilled.
Marc Crisafulli, executive vice president of strategy and operations at Bally's Corporation, says NBC 10 in Providence that ongoing coronavirus restrictions are hampering the company's operations. Bally owns and operates two casinos on Rhode Island - Twin River Casino Hotel and Tiverton Casino Hotel.
Both facilities must operate at 22:00 all week, and 22:30 on Fridays and Saturdays.
We have performance limitations, of course all kinds of health and sanitation protocols that will continue. But the curfew is a limiting factor for us, ”explained Crisafulli. "From a competitive point of view, we are now at a really disadvantage."
Twin River and Tiverton hotel rooms are currently unavailable. Rhode Islanders looking for an overnight adventure or a long weekend away can visit Encore and MGM Springfield later this week, or head west to two of Connecticut's tribal casinos.
Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods are open 2/7, as are thousands of hotel rooms.
“Only the state can tell us what they think is healthy for citizens and how we can do it. We will follow the directions, ”added Crisafulli. "It's just that it's a challenging environment these days, and our competitors in the North and Southwest are opening up more than we are."
Bally's portfolio grows
The current Bally's corporation, formed last year, is the new identity of Twin River Worldwide Holdings. The Rhode Island-based casino operator has acquired the Bally's casino trademark and real estate from former Caesars Entertainment and Eldorado Resorts, as well as VICI Properties.
Bally currently owns and operates gambling properties in Rhode Island, Mississippi, Delaware, Colorado, Missouri, Louisiana, and New Jersey.
This week, Bally's announced that it is acquiring Monkey Knife Fight, a daily fantasy sports company, in an all-equity transaction. This deal is part of the casino company's commitment to continue investing in the ever-growing space of online gaming and sports betting.