With all the attention on MGM Springfield, the Connecticut casinos and the Wynn – oops – I mean Encore Boston Harbor, the first casino in Massachusetts is getting a little forgotten in the mix.
Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, the state’s first (and for almost three years only) legal gambling establishment, wants to expand and offer table games as well as the slot machines they currently feature. The last three years have been progressively better until the past months when most of New England’s casinos saw a decrease in revenue from a year ago.
All the negative expectations have been proven wrong to this point, especially the fear it would have a negative impact on Plainville and neighboring communities and it would attract an “undesirable element.” Many claimed it would not provide the expected revenue. Instead, Plainridge has been a great neighbor, large employer and good corporation to work with the MGC and the State of Massachusetts.
Penn National, owner of Hollywood Bangor Casino Hotel in Maine, as well as many casinos and racinos across the country, knew being first with a slots-only establishment would have a major drawback – not having real blackjack, craps, roulette and other table games. To this point they have successful at every turn. It is greatly supported by locals and others in 20 mile radius that prefer a smokeless casino with only electronic versions of tables games.
Here Come the Big Guys
New casinos in Springfield and soon in Boston will fight any such move for tables games at Plainridge vehemently. They invested in this process understanding the rules. And they didn’t put their millions or billions of dollars up with the idea that competition beyond what they were promised would be allowed.
Any expansion to table games by Plainridge would need state legislative approval. Getting the Massachusetts Legislature to do virtually anything is a monumental task. And this area is not exactly known for its political influence. Town officials in Plainville, North Attleboro and Wrentham have come out in favor.
Jim Hand of the Sun Chronicle reported “In letters to the state Gaming Commission, Plainville, Wrentham, North Attleboro and Franklin officials said they would support allowing table games and more slot machines at Plainridge, terming the changes “a modest expansion……The expansion at Plainridge would require a legislative change, as it is designated as only a slots parlor and not a full-blown casino under state law.”
State Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, who represents Plainville, said he is on board with the request. “We have an ongoing venture that is working extremely well with virtually no negative impact on the community,” he said. “The community wants it. And the addition of other games will help us compete against Rhode Island which just built another casino on our border.”
Recently, Plainridge Park has seen a dip in revenue, as most of the eight New England casinos. Clyde Barrow, a casino researcher at the University of Texas Rio Grand Valley, said, “A drop in revenue is to be expected, just as Plainridge cut into the take at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I. I anticipated a 1 percent to 5 percent drop in Plainridge revenues as a result of the Tiverton casino, so I would say the lower September revenues are directly attributable to the new competition,” he said. However, such a small loss suggests that Plainridge remains competitive and doesn’t have much to fear from Tiverton Twin River Casino.”
A Quiet Acquisition
As reported by Marc Meltzer from PlayUsa, “Penn National Gaming acquired Pinnacle Gaming. The massive $2.8 billion deal makes Penn National Gaming one of the largest casino corporations in the country. The new Penn National Gaming may not have the largest casinos in the country. However, the new deal means that they will operate more casinos and racetracks than any other company in the US. After the acquisition, Penn National Gaming will operate more than 40 properties in 15 states.”
Mr. Meltzer also comments about the rewards club change due to the buy out. “While Penn National Gaming will be the owner of the properties, they will actually be using the loyalty club from Pinnacle Entertainment instead of their own Marquee Rewards. In 2019, the Marquee Rewards program will be migrated over to the mychoice players club.”
For more information provided in Marc’s post, go to PlayUSA or click here on PENN NATIONAL GAMING PLAYERS CLUB MOVING TO PINNACLE’S MYCHOICE CARD
Plainridge has done well for itself and has built a nice locals clientele. But it’s future may be bleak and for Massachusetts’ expected revenue if it continues as a slot-only property. I’m sure we will hear more as we turn the page to 2019.