The encore stated in their Mass Gaming Commission presentation that poker has been de-prioritized due to parking considerations. First it was lack of dealers now it is lack of parking. What will their excuse be next.
What they are really saying is that poker generates too few $ per hour and too few $ per square foot compared to other gaming options offered by encore. By reducing the hours and number of tables while increasing the rake to confiscatory maximum of $10, the encore is trying to effectively kill off poker to concentrate on its other more lucrative options. They try to justify this not by telling the truth about motivated self profit interest, but by talking about increasing the revenue generated to the municipalities that benefit from this casino making more money. It is not their greed that is highlighted, but the greed and need of the other entities that is highlighted. Parking concerns are just their of deflecting from their real motivations as it gives them a convenient scapegoat that is tough to argue with. That is their present corporate mantra and they will stick to it until they find a more compelling reason. They could be like the Atlantic City casinos and claim massive potential losses and looming layoffs/closures to extract increased tax breaks from the benefiting municipalities. At least the encore hasn't stooped to that level yet.
But a funny thing has happened. Massachusetts poker players are so underserved that they still come out in droves braving limited hours, long wait times, and predatory rakes just to play poker for a bit. Even the encore's well thought out plan to kill poker isn't working. I'm sure they will try to make things worse in the future for the players to kill off poker. Only the MGC can save poker at encore. I suggest everyone inundate the MGC with their concerns and remind them how the encore had reneged on their stated mission which allowed them to be licensed and permitted to build in the first place.