GM Springfield announced Thursday that poker will return to the property by the end of the year.
As reported by The Boston Herald, MGM Springfield Compliance Director Daniel Miller spoke during a Massachusetts Gaming Commission meeting Thursday morning and assured that the game will return “in Q4 of this year”.
He added that it will likely be available at a reduced capacity with only 10 to 12 tables instead of the usual 28.
The commission noted last month that it had seen a tenfold increase in complaints, many of them over the lack of poker options in the state, which had been taken away during the pandemic to prevent the spread of the virus.
“We have listened to our poker players and also our previous dealers that want this back as an option at our casino, and we want to provide it to them”, Miller said.
To this day, Encore Boston Harbor casino is the only other option for poker in the state. However, it has so far not announced any plans to bring the game back.
At last month’s Gaming Commission meeting, Encore Boston Senior Vice President and General Counsel Jacqui Krum told members that the decision not to bring back poker was not final. Nonetheless, the company had decided that it was not yet time for its return.
The commission had mandated that only 4 players would be allowed per table, following guidelines for contagion prevention. Both casinos in the area said that number of players would not have generated enough profit to make poker worth bringing back. The mandate was lifted in late May.
Krum blamed the lack of poker on the success of other more profitable and physically large slot machines that have taken the place of the poker area. She added at the time that Encore was facing an employment shortage and could not find dealers to man the tables.
Poker tends to be less profitable than slot machines and other casino games because the players play against each other, rather than the house.