Let’s get one thing straight before I delve into the “small is better” concerning casinos, which seems to be how states across the country want to separate you from your money. All casinos are not built the same, meant to do the same things or attract the same kind of gambler. I believe there are two distinct types of brick-and-mortar casinos:
1) The Destination Resort – these large casinos are more than gambling halls.
As a casino, they offer the complete array of gambling experiences – slots, video poker & keno, numerous and varied table games, maybe bingo, a race book that actually looks like a race book, not a simulcast operation from the 1970’s, and a strong rewards club, with opportunities for High-Rollers to shine. They have fine dining as well as fast food and everything in between, different attractions or experiences, on-site hotels and entertainment that non-gamblers would be attracted to. Interesting fact, gambling in these establishments has decreased in its importance within the past few years, with more people visiting for the amenities and the entertainment, not necessarily for the gambling. In New England, Mohegan Sun & Foxwoods would be included in this category, as will Wynn Everett and MGM Springfield when built. Reason for being so big? – two-fold. A destination for people to stay days to enjoy all the many amenities, including gambling, and still be all it can be for the local gambler as well with a strong rewards club.
2) Convenience Casinos – small casinos, little to no entertainment, and no four-star hotel on the premises actually, most don’t have any casino on the premises. The dining options are few, probably no gourmet and meant to hold you over until you can get back to the machines. Some have table games, but are very limited, taking up little space provided on the casino floor. Reason for being so small? – to get your money into whatever state’s coffers you live in. while providing a fun gambling experience for those who don’t wish to travel – easy opportunity. In New England, that includes Newport Grand Slots in Newport RI, Oxford, Oxford Casino in Oxford ME., and the new Plainridge Park Casino in MA.
This is not meant to “dis” the locals casino. Las Vegas has a vibrant locals market, with a much different clientele than the Strip. The difference is, visitors won’t stay at, let say Arizona Charlies on Decatur (which I love, by the way) unless the lower price is agreeable to them. Aria, Cosmo, Caesars – those are destinations.
If you are reading this carefully, you probably noticed I missed two New England Casinos – Twin River Casino in Lincoln RI (which sparked this blog) & Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway in Bangor ME.
First the latter.
Hollywood is small. Good for it’s location, and has a very nice hotel. I stayed once and found staff wonderful and the hotel experience great. But for all the other criteria listed above, even WITH a hotel, this is not a destination resort by any stretch of the mind.
But this post is to set the stage for tomorrow’s post, the other New England Casino not mentioned – Twin River Casino.
On Tuesday, I will address the anomaly that is Twin River Casino. It’s somewhere in the middle between that destination resort and the locals joint. And what about the Tiverton casino option that is in play? How will that & the proposed hotel at Twin River raise the stakes for the Ocean State’s third ranked source of revenue – gambling?
These and other questions – no news or filmed scheduled afterwards – just a look into as many insights, (coupled with this blogger’s opinions) as I can find. I want to try to figure out what impact Rhode Island’s gambling plans will have on New England’s gaming industry.
That’s all for now.