The fact that Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, Massachusetts is a success right now shouldn’t surprise anyone. It’s new, it’s shiny and happens to be in a state where gamblers have traveled up to two hours for daily visits to Connecticut. The fact that such a nice, new facility is close by for many should definitely attract Bay Staters by the boatloads.
Penn Gaming has worked hard to make this a successful opening, and it stocks on NASDAQ continue to rise, stimulated by the little casino that can. The Massachusetts State Lottery made an estimated $983.5 million in profits and outperformed expectations during the just ended fiscal year – is it possible that having a casino in Plainville and waiting for Wynn and MGM (a long wait by the looks of it now) is stimulating the state’s gambling juices to the drooling point?
How successful has Plainridge Park been? Plainridge Park Casino brought in just more than $6 million during its first full week in operation, a pretty strong start. The slot parlor pays a 49% tax on total gaming revenue, and a portion of that money will be distributed back into cities and towns as local aid. Communities will share nearly $2.5 million, just from the casino’s first week in business. The state expects the slot parlor to generate $200 million in its first year, but at this rate, it looks like that number could be closer to $320 million. It is a definite hit for Penn – but can it continue pulling the gambling weight by itself while Wynn and MGM are still mired in complications, law suits and set backs?
According to Market Watch, a financial information website that provides business news, analysis, and stock market data, “Plainridge will deliver solid return on investment at least in the first three years until Wynn Everett opens in late 2018.” With only one visit on one day, MW reported, “We also believe that Twin River will continue to get considerable business from Massachusetts, albeit less and at a lower margin.
We anticipate only modest impact on the Connecticut casinos, but expect Foxwoods to be hurt more than Mohegan Sun given its closer proximity……We observed a busy Plainridge on a Friday morning with almost all Massachusetts license plates in the garage (management said about 20% of business comes from Rhode Island)….Twin River was busy late afternoon Thursday with parking license plates split about 50/50 between Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Management noted that they did not lose many customers to Plainridge yet. However, the Twin River customers from Massachusetts are now spending less as part of their gambling budget is spent at Plainridge. Management expects to lose some Massachusetts customers after the trials but expects to retain the bulk of the Rhode Island players due to proximity and Twin River’s amenities….”
Market Watch, with the help of Fitch Ratings, hit the nail on the head. Their observations lead to five questions I have that I feel will determine the future success and dependency on Plainridge Park for Mass. gambling revenue:
- Will loyal Twin River Patrons return to Twin River after trying out the Plainridge experience?
- Will the sheer expanse and variety of gaming and amenities keep the Ocean state’s gamblers, continue to entice CT gamblers and hold on to the loyal base of gamblers?
- Will Penn gaming change the gambling configuration of the casino floor that is entirely too skewed toward video table games and needs more playable video poker?
- Will Twin River continue to change it’s offerings to meet the challenge?
- Will Twin River be allowed to move Newport Grand to Tiverton, putting more pressure on Plainridge Park with two venues sharing the same rewards club in Rhode Island?
One final note. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to play at Plainridge Park, and use your reward points at M Resort or Tropicana in Las Vegas, which are both now owned by Penn Gaming? If Penn Gaming were smart, they would focus on connecting ALL their casinos, many under the Hollywood brand or Marquee rewards brand. One club, dozens of casinos including Las Vegas, and all capitalizing on Plainridge Park’s success – NOW – while the going is good beyond expectations.
Thanks to MarketWatch for their observations that sparked this post. And thanks to Fitch Ratings, that provided the data. Fitch Ratings is a global leader in credit ratings and research. Click on the link for more great articles.