By Bob Katzen
The Gaming Commission voted 5-0 to extend the closing of the state’s three casinos until at least May 18. Operational status and the decision whether to keep the casinos open beyond May 18 will be reviewed prior to that date. The decision is in keeping with Gov. Baker’s extension of his order that non-essential businesses be shut down and mass gatherings be banned. The commission first closed the casinos on March 14.
“The timeline to reopen is still uncertain, however, our attention is now focused on developing a responsible restart plan and maximizing this time to establish guidelines, in coordination and collaboration with key stakeholders, including the three licensees, state and local leaders and public health officials,” says Commission Chair Cathy Judd-Stein in a message on the commission’s website. “We will leverage our internal expertise and lessons learned from other jurisdictions. Additionally, we will closely monitor guidance under development by the Governor’s Reopening Advisory Board.”
The closure adds to the state’s financial woes because typically gambling generates about $20 million per month in tax revenue. Combined with major revenue losses in the sales tax, meals tax, gas tax and others, the state is in line to lose billions of dollars in revenue.