68°F
weather icon Clear

Wynn, MGM casinos in Massachusetts temporarily closing

Updated March 14, 2020 - 11:10 am

Massachusetts’ gaming regulator voted Saturday to temporarily suspend operations of the state’s three casinos in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Two of the properties are operated by Las Vegas-based companies.

The gaming floors at Wynn Resort Ltd.’s Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Resorts International’s MGM Springfield are set to close to guests by 6 am EST Sunday. This comes after a visitor to Encore Boston Harbor tested positive for the virus earlier this month.

Penn National Gaming’s Plainridge Park Casino will also temporarily shut down, according to a Saturday statement from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

“This decision will be re-assessed in two weeks, while an orderly shutdown process is actively underway,” the statement said.

A statement from MGM said its Massachusetts property will likely remain closed for at least 15 days.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said Thursday there are no immediate plans of shutting down Nevada casinos.

“We’re in constant contact with our resort operators, and they’re making individual decisions,” he said at a Thursday press conference.

But he said officials were “very concerned” about what an economic downturn from the rise of infections will do to the state. “We’re aware that we rely on gaming and sales taxes … and hopefully we’ll be able to weather the storm,” he said.

Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo told the Review-Journal Saturday closing Nevada’s casinos is not being considered by the commission board “at the present time.”

Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Sandra Morgan did not respond to a request for comment.

In a Saturday morning phone call, the five Massachusetts gaming commissioners, gaming commission executive staff and representatives from all three casinos discussed ways to approach the temporary shutdown, including finding alternative lodging for displaced hotel guests.

“We sincerely regret the impact this will have on our employees, their families, and the community, but their health and safety is our number one concern,” said a Saturday statement from MGM Chief Operating Officer and President Bill Hornbuckle.

A statement from Encore Boston Harbor said the company will continue to pay all full-time employees at this time “as it evaluates the impact of the temporary closure.” A limited number of employees and management will remain on site after the closure to secure, sanitize and maintain the property.

A Saturday statement from Penn National said the company will continue to pay the wages and benefits for the nearly 400 Massachusetts staff members at Plainridge Park “for the two week period.”

As of Friday evening, 123 have tested positive positive for COVID-19 in Massachusetts.

Earlier Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker issued an emergency order banning most gatherings of more than 250 people, exempting certain locations like airports. restaurants and medical facilities. Schools in many districts have also been canceled.

On Saturday, Massachusetts relaxed rules for who can get tested for the coronavirus in an effort to identify more cases and slow the spread of the outbreak.

The state isn’t the first to shut down casinos amid the outbreak.

The Illinois Gaming Board ordered the state’s 10 casinos Friday to suspend gambling operations for 14 days, beginning Monday.

Two of those properties are operated by Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment Corp., one is operated by Boyd Gaming Corp., another by Reno-based Eldorado Resorts and three are operated by Penn National Gaming.

“The Board is continuously monitoring developments and will update licensees and the public as frequently as possible,” according to a statement from the Illinois board.

Caesars spokesman Richard Broome declined to comment. Spokespeople for Boyd, Eldorado and Penn did not immediately return requests for comment.

Twin River Casino and Tiverton Casino in Rhode Island have also announced plans to close temporarily for cleaning.

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
Allegiant burning over $2M per day, many workers on leave with half pay - VIDEO
Allegiant Air’s parent is burning through at least $2 million in cash per day and hundreds of workers are taking two-month leave at half pay as the carrier grapples with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small business owners talk about shutdown impact
Small business owners talk about shutdown impact. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Top stories Friday April 3, 2020
Rj Business reporters Bailey Schulz, Subrina Hudson and Eli Segall talk about the top trending stories at the Review-Journal
Caesars furloughing about 90% of US workers
The furloughs come amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prompted all U.S. commercial casinos to temporarily shut their doors.
Amazon blocks sale of N95 masks to public - VIDEO
Amazon established a new section of its website where U.S.-accredited hospitals or state or federal agencies can apply for supplies. N95 masks, surgical masks, facial shields, surgical gowns, surgical gloves and large-volume sanitizers are among the restricted items. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cars line up for over 4 miles for food
Cars were lined up along Sahara Avenue from Palace Station to South Rainbow Boulevard for food distribution sponsored by Three Square and Central Church in Henderson.
US weekly jobless claims jump to 6.6 million - VIDEO
The U.S. Labor Department reported 6.6 million people filed for unemployment insurance in the past week. A reported 10 million people have filed over the past two weeks. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
When will self-employed get unemployment money in Nevada? - VIDEO
President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act into law March 27. It allows states to expand unemployment insurance benefits, including to independent contractors, self-employed and gig workers. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Free Business Updates
For more information head to: https://www.reviewjournal.com/vegas-business-updates/
Walmart’s new safety measures at stores: Checking temperatures - VIDEO
In an effort to intensify safety measures in their stores, Walmart and Sam’s Club will check the temperatures of all employees as they arrive for work. (Kevin Cannon / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Macy’s to furlough majority of 130,000 employees amid coronavirus closures - VIDEO
On March 30, Macy’s Inc. announced their decision to furlough a majority of their employees and instead move to the “absolute minimum workforce needed.” (Las Vegas Review-Journal
An empty Las Vegas Strip from the air - Drone Video
For the first time in forever, the famed Las Vegas Strip is closed for business amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada construction continues as coronavirus spreads
When Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered Nevada businesses closed, he let construction workers stay on the job, deeming homebuilding and other construction “essential” lines of work.
US weekly jobless claims soar to record-breaking 3.28M - VIDEO
The U.S. Department of Labor released the shattering numbers on Thursday. Jobless claims had been as low as 282,000 the previous week. The 3.28 million jobless claims for last week is more than double the 1.5 million new claims that analysts were expecting. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Worker at Allegiant Stadium tests positive for COVID-19
Construction of Allegiant Stadium is unlikely to affected by the coronavirus outbreak that is having an impact on just about every industry across the Las Vegas Valley. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Casino companies burning through millions daily
RJ reporter Bailey Schulz talks about how much Las Vegas Casino companies are losing and how the Emergency bill could help if they run out of money or need help recouping what was lost.
Albertsons, Walmart, Amazon increase pay amid coronavirus impact - VIDEO
Grocery stores and other retailers have raised employee pay as they work to meet customer demand during the coronavirus pandemic. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police tells nonessential businesses to respect the shutdown - VIDEO
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department reminds businesses in Clark County that all nonessential businesses are to be shut down as mandated by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, due to the coronavirus crises. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Amazon Prime delays are now as long as a month - VIDEO
As of Sunday, many nonessential items ordered with Prime delivery are showing an April 21 delivery date. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fed announces unprecedented actions to stabilize markets - VIDEO
The Federal Reserve announced several new measures on Monday. Among the announced programs is a further commitment of $300 billion "supporting the flow of credit" for Main Street businesses. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lee’s Discount Liquor stores close on Sunday - VIDEO
Lee’s Discount Liquor stores across the Las Vegas Valley closed at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 22, the company announced on Twitter. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Local Businesses Message To Customers After Closing - Video
Local movie theaters and stores leave signs on their doors for customers as businesses close after being ordered to shut down.
Valley businesses react to mandatory order to shut down - VIDEO
All non-essential businesses in the Las Vegas Valley have to shut down. We spoke with store owners who would remain open for the benefit of the community and others who were still confused as to why they had to close. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada casino closures impact 206K workers, AGA finds - VIDEO
About 206,000 direct casino employees in Nevada are without work after Gov. Steve Sisolak’s Tuesday mandate, according to the American Gaming Association. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
More Las Vegas Valley grocery stores offer early hours for seniors - VIDEO
A growing list of Las Vegas Valley retailers are offering special shopping hours for seniors in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada casinos closing for 30 days following state order - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak’s unprecedented order on nonessential Nevada businesses will shut down 440 licensed casinos. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wynn CEO and Dr. Rebecca Katz go over coronavirus - Video
The Wynn CEO Matt Maddox and Dr. Rebecca Katz give a warning about the coronavirus in Las Vegas and around the world.
The Bellagio casino floor cleared as guests get ready to leave hotel - VIDEO
The Bellagio casino floor cleared as guests get ready to leave hotel (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tourists upset with MGM Resorts' lack of closure notice - VIDEO
Tourists like David and Emma Walker, who are visiting from Scotland, found out about MGM Resorts' property closures through Google, instead of the Luxor where they are currently staying. The Walkers are upset with how MGM has handled the situation by not making their customers aware of the closures first. (Cassie Soto/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
All Las Vegas MGM casinos, hotels to temporarily close - VIDEO
MGM Resorts International announced Sunday it is temporarily suspending operations at all Las Vegas properties “until further notice” effective Tuesday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST