Wynn & MGM Rumors Abound in Massachusetts

Matt Maddox (left & Steve Wynn (right) courtesy of CNBC

Wynn Resorts new CEO Matt Maddox reported on CNBC Wednesday that “Boston’s not up for sale. What Boston represents for us is a good growth opportunity……I like that market. I found that land. I pursued that deal. I entered the agreement with the host community five years ago. I liked that market then, I like that market now.”

Rumors have been spreading daily over the two new casinos in Massachusetts.  It all started when Steve Wynn, then CEO of Wynn Resorts, Wynn, was accused of demanding sexual favors from female employees over the last three decades. Since these allegations became public, and his resignation as Wynn Resorts chairman and CEO on Feb. 6, a firestorm of speculation has whirled around Everett, MA.,  spreading to Springfield, MA and even Connecticut’s tribal casinos.

MGM BOSTON HARBOR?

MassLive reported that “gaming officials are exploring the sale of Wynn Boston Harbor, with MGM Resorts International as a top candidate to purchase the project.”  MGM Resorts International has been urged on by John DeCree of Union Gaming stating “purchasing Wynn Boston Harbor could result in a double-digit increase in return on investment for MGM than their casino project in Springfield.”  But state gaming regulations only allow a casino operator to hold more than one gaming license in Massachusetts.  Selling their MGM Springfield project would then be necessary to purchase the Wynn property in Everett.

MORE RUMORS

Meanwhile, back in Springfield, MGM this week has reported a new opening date – earlier than the previously announced late September.  MGM Springfield is now prepared to open (mark your calendars!) August 24th, 2018.  This report is not a rumor, but will the casino in Springfield be owned by MGM by that time?

With a series of “what-ifs” and “thens,” check out this possible 5+ step scenario:

  • 1. MGM purchases Wynn Boston Harbor, becoming MGM Boston Harbor
  • 2. MGM sells Springfield casino.
  • 3A. Mohegan Sun buys Springfield, becoming Mohegan Sun Springfield (the Mohegan tribe lost out to Wynn for the Boston license with their proposal in Revere. or
  • 3B. MMCT Joint venture between the Pequot & Mohegan tribes in CT change it’s prospective 3rd CT casino in South Windsor to Springfield, MA.
  • 3C. The prospective 3rd CT casino in South Windsor continues as a joint venture between the Pequot & Mohegan tribes in CT
  • 4. The prospective 3rd CT casino in South Windsor is not built, leaving Foxwoods out of the mix, until….
  • 5. Connecticut opens bidding for Bridgeport Casino, as Foxwoods & MGM become prime suitors to battle it out for the NYC market.

It seems like fun to make these rumored projections, much like a mock draft on Draft Day.  But it isn’t fun and games for the city of Springfield. MA. Casino opponents in Springfield always warned that “something like this could happen with MGM’s track record.”

MGM Springfield

Remember when this beautiful tower was going to enhance the Springfield skyline?

AND WHAT ABOUT SPRINGFIELD?

According to MassLive, “Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said Friday he has been assured by the top executives of MGM Resorts International and MGM Springfield that it remains committed to building a first-class resort casino in the city, despite unconfirmed reports that the company is in discussions to purchase the under-construction Wynn Resorts casino in Everett.” Residents have made it known that they need MGM for its economic and jobs promises. Some note that MGM has already changed its plans when they changed the 30-story hotel tower and decreased the casino floor.

Other residents have noted that businesses have been reluctant to break ground in Springfield to accompany the opening of MGM Springfield.

MGM has stated, “We do not comment on rumors or speculations around transactions. We remain fully committed to the opening and success of MGM Springfield.”  But it is the Boston market that will pay the most dividends.  Springfield has always been, to some, a questionably lucrative project.

CONCLUSION

Many events would have to happen in order for Wynn Boston Harbor to become MGM Boston Harbor. The summer will prove to be interesting, as state legislatures business is coming to a halt soon in both states, putting a hold on possibilities.  Besides the Wynn Boston Harbor mess and the MMCT situation in CT, sports-betting is also on the table in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

For Springfield’s sake, I hope the next throw of the dice isn’t “snake-eyes!”

Binbin

Connecticut Casino Expansion Intensifies

 

MGM  Bridgeport rendering top. Proposed MMCT joint venture casino between CT’s Mohegan & Pequot tribes for East Windsor, CT. below.

To add a casino or not add a casino? – That is NOT the question. To add two casinos? – Now that’s the question!

To get the prequel for this post, click on the the post “Wynn, MGM, Bridgeport & MMCT – Questions Abound.”  

The battle at the border between MGM Springfield and the MMCT joint casino venture by the Mohegan & Pequot tribes is going on three years now. But events in March took the conflict to a new height. Highlights?  Sure, there are plenty:

  • CT Attorney General George Jepsen advised legislators on Thursday to consider and test the market for opening Connecticut to commercial casinos, believing that commercial casinos would not jeopardize the $160 million in slots revenue that the state expects to collect in 2018 from the exclusivity deal signed with tribal owners Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, owners of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino.

    Attorney General Jepson

  • According to MGM, Connecticut left tons of money on the table by accepting the first casino proposal that came their way. MGM has argued for the past year that the casino proposal process should be open to commercial interests. MGM would also pick a different location – Bridgeport, which is further from the MGM Springfield than East Windsor.
  • MGM wants to build a casino and hotel on the Bridgeport waterfront – the only place MGM is interested in. A bill to support this was in jeopardy after committee leadership refused to hold a vote on it, but it was passed with one major change – Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun will still be allowed to develop their own casino in East Windsor, CT, minutes from the Massachusetts border and from MGM Springfield. Due to the change in the billMGM isn’t so so sure it’s interested if the MMCT casino in East Windsor is allowed to be built.

    Connecticut State Capitol

  • Then, Connecticut lawmakers approved a revised bill that could pave the way for the construction of the state’s fourth casino. The piece of legislation nearly died in the General Assembly’s Public Safety and Security Committee, but last-ditch efforts from lawmakers supporting the idea helped it survive with a 21-3 vote in favor. If approved in the Legislature, the bill would allow for the opening of a new bidding process for operators interested in building a casino in Connecticut. In case the proposed commercial casino bill reaches the desk of Governor Dannel Malloy and he signs it into law, the state of Connecticut would then subsequently allow the local Indian tribes, casino developers, and other qualified entities to submit their respective proposals for establishing the fourth legally authorized gaming venue in the state.

You can’t make this stuff up!  At any given time, either side sound like adolescents not getting their way, only this is different – there’s a lot of money at stake!

Remember to go to TravelZork to see our monthly post, as well as all of their great coverage of  travel, Vegas & casino resources on the web.

MGM Winning the Battle in CT by Outspending the Rest

Hold The Demolition!

The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations were set to begin work on dismantling the abandoned Showcase Cinamas in East Windsor where the joint venture of MMCT were to build a casino. Let’s face it, it was intended to be a quick reaction to save jobs and revenue going over the border to Springfield .

MGM Resorts International continues to throw any resistance they can, raising its own bet for Connecticut’s lucrative gambling dollars. In case you missed it, in the last few years MGM has:

  • flooded the towns considered for the MMCT third casino venture with propaganda to promote disinterest
  • stirred the pot by inciting other CT tribes to “get their piece of the pie,”
  • made CT legislators consider other processes for gaming in the Nutmeg State
  • studied and suggested Bridgeport as the best place for a new casino (away from Springfield)

    Bridgeport, CT – MGM casino quest

  • continues litigation with the state of CT concerning the casino addition
  • slowed the third casino process to a crawl, getting ahead with their project in Springfield while
  • continuing to move forward steadily in building MGM Springfield
  • and even has CT politicians & residents alike thinking that no additional casino is the best scenario

With an offer for a Bridgeport casino and fierce opposition to the East Windsor site within 17 miles of the $900 million MGM casino nearing completion in Springfield, Mass., there is as much as $20 million a month in Connecticut gambling revenue at stake.

Ken Dixon of the CT Post reported the following actions as MGM raised the ante last year:

  • Spending more than $3.8 million in TV and radio ads and lobbying state agencies and lawmakers, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Attorney General George Jepsen, a Hearst Connecticut Media review of public records in the Office of State Ethics has found. (The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegans’ joint venture spent less than $1.2 million.)
  • MGM hired a Washington lobbyist to focus on the Department of the Interior and the White House, paying Ballard Partners $270,000.
  • Lobbying total comparisons: MGM Resorts International $3.8 million, Mashantucket Pequot Tribe/Foxwoods $77,850, MMCT Venture, (East Windsor tribal casino) $1.2 million, Schaghticoke Tribal Nation of Kent $158,194 (when MGM backed an effort to get the tribe recognized and allowed a competing casino)
  • MGM Resorts International’s growing investment in Connecticut lobbying – 2015 — $172,937  2016 — $1,224,440, 2017 — $3.8 million

“It’s par for the course,” said Andrew Doba, spokesman for the two tribes. “MGM has shown, month after month, year after year, that they are willing to spend ungodly amounts of money to prevent Connecticut from taking the logical and necessary steps to protecting jobs and revenue.”

Connecticut State Capitol

Recently, Kenneth Gosselin if the Hartford Courant reported the introduction of a bill that would open casino expansion in Connecticut to competitive bidding calls for scrapping plans for a casino in East Windsor. The bill requires that proposals include a workforce of at least 2,000 and an agreement to give the state at least 25 percent of gross gaming revenues from all games, plus at least 10 percent from slot machines. The pact with CT’s two tribal casinos now in action insures 25% of all slot revenue.

What would the New bill entail?

  1. Bids are due by Jan. 1.
  2. The proposals also must show the bidders are able to pay a one-time $50 million licensing fee to the state.
  3. The legislature’s public safety and security committee, which oversees gaming, will hold a public hearing on the bill on March 8.

The legislative committee will take a broader look at the future of gaming in the state, including sports betting, in an informational forum.

Last February I wrote that there were three future possibilities in Connecticut concerning casino expansion:

“At this time, here are the possibilities:

  1. No Casino – yes, that’s right.  In a quick Twitter poll on our NETimeGambling Twitter site, 60% responded to no casino, 20% for Bridgeport, and 20% for the Hartford area.
  2. MMCT gets their casino, the mess continues, but to no avail.
  3. All Hell Breaks Lose! – the process is revisited, commercial casinos apply for two licenses, and I’ll be writing about it well into 2020.”

Well, here we are a year later. I guess not much has changed, except for one thing – MGM is winning the battle in CT.  Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods should start thinking about other possibilities to compete for the gambler’s dollar.

 

 

MGM Springfield Shows Progress & Promise

MGM Springfield area

MGM has opened its first building in Springfield for its $1 billion casino & resort. About 50 employees moved into the casino’s new administrative office this week. The building will eventually house some 300 corporate and human resource workers, as well as a training school for prospective casino workers.

This prompted us at NETG to check the progress in Springfield. How has the process been going?

MGM International and Jim Murren, CEO, could not be happier. Even MGM’s stall tactics with the MMCT Mohegan/Pequot Casino and the creative distraction of a Bridgeport, CT casino can’t take away from the process success in Springfield.  MGM builds resorts, and does it well.

The “Casino Lab”

MGM Casino Lab

Steve Urbon, from SouthCoastToday, reported in August on the place that includes “a wildly colorful carpet and low, indirect lighting with spotlights on the four felt-topped blackjack tables, two poker tables, custom chips, craps table, and roulette wheel…..hands-on training for table games, for both players and the casino dealers. It is designed to be completely realistic” The room is part of Bristol Community College’s CATCH Institute and is the first and only school in the state to win the Gaming Commission’s Gaming School Certificate and is located at the Taunton campus inside the Silver City Galleria Mall.

Recently, it was reported that MGM Springfield and the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute will provide details on how to register and enroll in classes to train for such games as blackjack, poker, roulette and mini-baccarat. MGM expects to hire 450 table-game dealers, with hiring expected to begin this summer. See Kenneth R. Gosselin‘s report MGM Springfield: Wanted Table-Game Dealers for more details and if you’re interested in becoming a dealer.

PlayMyWay

Programs such as PlayMyWay focus on problem gambling prevention and customer protection practices. Its intention is to help players make decisions about gambling, allow them to monitor and understand their playing behavior in real time, and support their decisions. At this time, the PlayMyWay program is only at Massachusetts’s only open casino, Plainridge Park Casino and seems to be working well. Even though the program is not mandatory by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for the other two casinos, MGM Springfield and Wynn Boston Harbor (opening in fall of 2019), Michael Mathis, president and COO of MGM Springfield, and Robert DeSalvio, president of Wynn Boston Harbor, the commission voted 5-0 to allow both casinos to implement PlayMyWay as a voluntary program. Mathis was quoted as saying “MGM believes that a voluntary operator driven approach to play management will achieve the commission’s and operators’ shared goals of a best in class responsible gaming framework,”

Diversity for Springfield

MGM is committed to create a diverse workforce at it’s Massachusetts casino. According to Peter Goonan at MassLive “Mathis said he is proud to say that out of 16 department heads hired, more than half are minorities and/or women. MGM Springfield has set goals for diversity hiring in its formal agreements with the Gaming Commission and the city of Springfield.” In addition, “the hiring of minorities for the casino project was listed as 22.2 percent as of Sept. 30, 2017, as compared with the project goal of 15.3 percent, according to MGM Springfield. The hiring of women was 9.25 percent as compared with the project goal of 6.9 percent, and the hiring of veterans was listed at 10.16 percent as compared with the goal of 8 percent.”

Casino On Schedule

MGM Springfield Interior Lobby, courtesy Jim Kinney | jkinney@repub.com

Also covered by Mr. Goonan in a December post how impressed the MGC and Chairman Steve Crosby was with MGM’s plans. Commission members agreed that photographs of the work site, comparing last year to this year, showed dramatic change. They were also impressed with a report about the hotel that is under construction on site, including an interior view of what the hotel rooms will look like, with Crosby saying the view was “really cool.” MGM is taking a new path in its hotel design, giving a touch of Springfield & New England in its decor and design. For a gallery of photos from MassLive courtesy of Jim Kinney from the Springfield Republic, CLICK HERE.

MGM joins Cambridge College

Cambridge College and MGM are launching the Commonwealth’s first ever Hospitality pre-apprentice program in greater Springfield. Hospitality careers include event planners, travel agents, hotel staff and food service. MGM Springfield and other local organizations will help prepare the workforce for these high demand positions. The program consists of four weeks of classes to help students prepare for entry-level jobs in the field. This is must needed help for a city struggling with unemployment.  While having a modest decrease in unemployment rate, it is still close to double that of the Massachusetts average.  Covered by WesternMassNews “[MGM Springfield] is going to have approximately 2,200 of the 3,000 jobs as full-time positions.”

Anticipation is Building

I too am getting caught up in the excitement of the addition of another casino/resort in New England. This one looks to be like no other in New England and the country.

For a great encapsulation of MGM Springfield, please visit Steve Ruddock’s recent post:

MGM SPRINGFIELD TAKING A PAGE OUT OF THE PATRIOTS’ PLAYBOOK

Go MGM Springfield, and Go Patriots!

Binbin

 

MGM Springfield Releases New Details with Local Flavor

Main Street, Red Rose Pizza in the far left corner. In between is Howard Street to the Cinema, Bowling, and Event area

A very positive article was published by Jim Kinney in MassLive, concerning local interests represented by MGM Springfield. It seems MGM has some very keen interest in our unique New England heritage.

Part of the original plan was to include a bowling alley. Today’s post mentioned it’s not just bowling lanes, but something dear to New England’s keglers – candle pin bowling.

Candle pin bowling uses three small bowling balls, with none of the “dead wood” removed. A score of 120 is equal to 180 in ten-pin.

Most people outside of New England have never bowled candle pins, or even knew they existed! According to Mr. Kinney’s post, Alex Dixon, general manager of MGM, was quoted saying, “If it’s what your local community wants, it just doesn’t make sense not to include those things.” Bravo, someone is listening.

Preserving and uplifting the city is a crucial part in the casino’s presence. A movie theater and ice skating rink is also planned, and what is more winter fun in New England than ice skating.

The French Congregational Church.

For historic preservation, MGM Springfield even moved the French Congregational Church, known since 1919 as the First Spiritualist Church, is a historic High Victorian Gothic structure that sat on the complex site.

Other points of interest include:

  • “MGM hopes to open the first through the eighth floor of 95 State St. for its offices in January. This will be the first permanent space MGM will occupy at the site”
  • “The ninth through 11th floors will be the site of MGM Springfield’s table games school for dealers run cooperatively with Springfield Technical Community College and Holyoke Community College”
  • “Al Griggs, vice chairman of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, asked about having locally grown foods at MGM. Dixon said yes, that’s the plan, saying that incorporating locally grown food not only helps farmers but it improves quality in the restaurants and helps MGM meet its environmental sustainability goals.”

MGM has vowed to consider Springfield’s history and architecture in building this casino / resort.  Along with keeping that promise, they are looking for those things that makes it different from previous ventures over the years – the feel of New England.

 

BinBin

MGM Springfield – An “Urban” Casino

Mass Mutual Civic Center, Springfield, MA

Springfield casino seeks to blend into historic downtown.

Most new “brick & mortar”casinos, such as future casinos Wynn Boston Harbor & Tiverton Hotel/Casino, are built on open land, set back from their neighbors. But a newer approach is on the rise in Springfield, Massachusetts – the “Urban Casino.”

What is an Urban Casino? Finding a definition is difficult because it’s such a new concept.  These new genre of casinos have certain criteria in common:

This church was moved from the area that will be the casino floor.

  • They are built, usually in already existing buildings, although major renovations or completely new buildings like MGM Grand, are not out if the area.
  • They are built in an already existing Downtown area.
  • They are made to fit in the existing landscape of the city
  • They are not dependent upon having a hotel – some suggest no hotel is best because it allows visitors to explore city areas more, instead of the old idea of self-contained “hold ’em & keep ’em” hotel/casinos.

MGM is bringing a $950 million casino and hotel to the heart of a city with nearly four centuries of history, including the overnight stays of President James Polk and his secretary of state, James Buchanan, who became president in 1857 – according to Sean Murphy of the Boston Globe. “Prodded by local history buffs, MGM has pledged to integrate its 14-acre development into the downtown cityscape by preserving all or a portion of several treasured buildings, including the Union House, the 129-year-old First Spiritualist Church in Springfield which was moved so it could be preserved as part of the casino complex, and will include two very citys landmarks as important bookends on either side – the sturdy Mass Mutual building, built in the early 20th century, and the columned facade of the United Electric building. MGM plans to restore the magnificent United Electric lobby, a masterpiece that features terrazzo floors, marbled walls, and a stained-glass dome, to be displayed at the casino.

Blending In

In this prominent historic district of Detroit, the 30-story hotel tower with 400 guestrooms and suites anchors the property while providing a high-visibility link to the adjacent casino and event center.The idea of an Urban Casino is not new, but MGM’s goal is to blend it into the city of Springfield better than any other urban casinos already built.

The trend began with downtown casinos in Detroit, one of which is the Greektown Hotel-Casino in the historic Greektown District.

MGM Springfield’s plan is similar to Greektown – hotel without tower, casino within a city.

“It’s a glimpse of what future casinos may look like,” said Andrew Klebenow of Global Market Advisers, a Las Vegas-based casino consulting company. “Rather than build an island in the middle of the city, MGM wants to connect to the street grid and allow for the free flow of pedestrians and tourists into and out of its property.”

The casino is only a couple blocks from Court Square, a wide patch of green surrounded by a white steepled church, a building designed by famed 19th-century architect H.H. Richardson, and the classically styled City Hall and Symphony Hall. Nearby is the Mass Mutual Civic Center, an 8,000-seat arena, an arena where MGM will be managing entertainment options in close proximity.

“The idea is for casino patrons to venture out into the city to go to the symphony or to the Civic Center for a show,” said Robert McCarroll, a retired city planner and longtime preservationist.

Other Urban Casinos – OHIO

Horseshoe Cincinnati, now Jack Cincinnati.

Horseshoe Cincinnati,  Cincinnati, Ohio – the first to actually use phrase opened on Monday, March 4, 2013, closed and reopened under the brand Jack Cincinnati Casino in June 2016

The Horseshoe Casino, Cleveland

Horseshoe Casino Cleveland, Ohio (2012) – “originally planned as a temporary facility, but evolving into a permanent casino reusing already existing commercial property.

 

 

A City in Need

For decades, Springfield, the state’s third-largest city, has experienced a steady drain of jobs as factories moved or closed , with it’s current unemployment rate of almost 9 percent is about twice that of the state average. Many officials now look to the casino as the economic savior they were hoping it would be and promised by MGM and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

Michael Mathis, president of MGM Springfield, said the company’s plan drew inspiration from the city’s “past and its future potential.” “We are very proud of our urban redevelopment casino model,” he said.

Main Street, Red Rose Pizza in the far left corner. In between is Howard Street to the Cinema, Bowling, and Event area

Here’s hoping the city of Springfield, with a new AHL Hockey franchise, a rise in entertainment options, and an improved transportation infrastructure, will rise to be a top New England destination.  With the connections that MGM International provides, and the comprehensive MLife Rewards Club with ties to 13 Las Vegas properties, MGM Springfield has the potential to become another success in the MGM’s portfolio.

Binbin

7 Most Viewed “Casino”Posts in August at NETG

It’s been a few weeks since we looked back at previous the week’s previous posts and highlights.  So, this morning, I will highlight the best of August, in case you missed anything on vacation. But first, some gambling humor:

In Vegas, I got into a long argument with the man at the casino roulette wheel over what I considered to be an odd number.” —Gambling Joke By Stephen Wright (courtesy of ThrillofGambling.com )

SO, HERE ARE THE TOP “LUCKY 7” POSTS FROM AUGUST

7)Slot Machines – When to Play Max Bet

One of the most debated topics regarding slot machines, and video poker, concerns max bet, specifically when should I hit that bet max button. Max Bet or Maximum Bet is the highest amount of coins or credits you can play in a single spin.

 


 

6)Casino Comps & Your “Average Daily Theoretical

Ever wonder how the casino you visit decides on what comps to give you? My comps continued to be menial – “minion’s comps” I call them until I found out about Average Daily Theoretical – the average amount that a gambler losses per day for a certain gambling activity…..


 

5)Three Suggestions to Slot Machine Players

Have you wondered why it seems harder to win at your favorite casino?  Here are three tips.


 

4)Massachusetts More Worried, Not Mohegan Sun, About New England’s Casino Share

Still getting noticed after posted two years ago.  For related posts, check out: Massachusetts, MGM Springfield, is Still Worried About Their New England Casino Share


 

#3)Daily Bus Transportation to Our New England Casinos

It seems getting to our 7 casinos in four states is on the minds of our followers.  It will only get more involved with the addition of MGM Springfield & Wynn Boston Harbor!

 

#2)COMPARING ALL 7 NEW ENGLAND CASINOS – From our Menu Pages & Archives


 

AND THE MOST REVIEWED POST IN AUGUST:

5 Things You Need to Know About New Foxwoods Rewards Club

Have a great week. – Binbin

 

MGM – GameSense, Responsible Gambling, Every Property

 

MGM Resorts Logo

MGM Resorts

The gambling industry is consistently maligned for pushing gamblers toward addiction. The fact is that there are strategies the casino business use that influences players gambling more.  Libby Kane, in here article “9 Tricks Casinos Use To Make You Spend More Money” gives you some examples of age old ways a casino can influence your further gambling.

Remember, these chips represent real money.

 

 

We have many pleasures in this world and some do become unmanageable vices.  But, in recent years, the gaming industry has looked at ways to help their patrons stay away from addiction.

Anyone ever notice if a liquor store ever denied clientele from purchases because of suspected alcohol addiction?  Did you ever see someone notify a major cigarette manufacturer to ask that they be banned from purchasing their product?  well, how about the casino industry?

Self-banning, or self-exclusion, is a process of giving a casino permission to stop a player from entering a specific casino and has been available for years. Most compulsive gamblers and their family members believe that self-exclusion is the solution because the problem is the gambler going to the casino.” One of the problems that gamblers and their family members learn is that just because you self-ban from one casino doesn’t mean you’ve banned yourself from others.

When Massachusetts passed the he Expanded Gaming Act in 2011, particular emphasis was placed on encouraging responsible gaming and the prevention of problem gambling. The Act uniquely mandated a physical space for responsible gaming support inside all Massachusetts casinos, and directed MGC to pursue innovative and active methods and tools to meet this legislative mandate.  Plainridge Park Casino, the first Massachusetts casino in Plainville, MA, included three options to help against gambling problems:

  1. GameSenseMA.com, a website with tips and tricks to promote responsible gaming practices
  2. The GameSense Info Center at Plainridge Park Casino, staffed by GameSense Advisors from 9:00am to 1:00am every day
  3. PlayMyWay is an innovative budget-setting tool that prompts rewards card holders to voluntarily choose a daily, weekly and/or monthly budget to track their spending while at Plainridge Park Casino.

For additional coverage of Plainridge Park’s Responsible Gambling Program, check out our previous related posts “Plainridge Park Casino Officially Launches “PlayMyWay” Today!”

and

“Massachusetts Gaming Report – Keeping Track Of Its Residents Gambling Health.”

What came as a big surprise, at least to me, was when MGM recently decided to adopt the GameSense platform to all of ITS properties, due to success at the Plainridge Park property (owned by PennNationalGaming) and the Connecticut Lottery, among others using the program.

It is expected to be used in all Massachusetts casinos – Wynn Boston Harbor & MGM’s MGM Springfield.  Steve Ruddock, in his article

“MGM Adopting GameSense Responsible Gaming Program Throughout Its US Casinos” from OnlinePokerReport

said, “What MGM has likely seen is the light touch GameSense uses, as well as the positive perception of GameSense from casino patrons.”

I’ve always thought that MGM was a profit-first company, with little care for its players. But not only is bold move a plus for everyone, having so much data to use may also help Responsible Gaming Program Design in the future.  Steve continues with four important points:

  1. According to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s annual report, 87.7 percent of survey respondents said their primary concern was resolved by visiting a GameSense Info Center or speaking with a GameSense advisor.
  2. A further 82 percent of survey respondents said they would visit the GameSense Info Center again.
  3. Furthermore, the industry as a whole is becoming more in tune with responsible gaming as a policy, rather than viewing it as a handcuff.
  4. Forward-thinking companies have come to the conclusion that embracing responsible gaming policies — and in doing so attracting the right type of customer — is good for business.

When winning is important to both sides in the casino business, this move by MGM can only be seen as a “win-win.”

Bravo!  MGM!

Binbin


Steve Ruddock

 – Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus for OPR is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.

 

 

 

MGM Springfield – A Slideshow of Progress

 

NETG took a ride to Springfield, Mass to see how MGM Springfield’s Urban Casino/Resort was shaping up.  While it looks like it has a long way to go to open in 2018, I would bet MGM International knows how to turn buildings into marvel quickly and efficiently.

So here is a slide show with renderings first, followed by the construction of the same area or structure.  Keep in mind, without permission, and leaving our hard hats at home, this was the closest to the rendering spots as we could get.

I’m including the following MGM Springfield Plan (above) so you can get a perspective of the project.

Enjoy

Binbin

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Plainridge Park Casino Continues Success

Plainridge Park Entrance, Plainville, MA

Plainridge Park Entrance, Plainville, MA

Time to take a look at Plainridge Park’s progress in almost two years of operation. It’s been in the news the last few months, and for many good reasons.  Our previous check on Plainridge Park was back in May this year – Plainridge Park Casino Exceeding All Expectations

When it opened in 2015, it was supposed to take a bite out of Rhode Island’s gaming revenue being the first Casino in Massachusetts according to the Massachusetts Expanded Act in 2011.  Plainridge & Twin River Casino in Lincoln, RI, only 10 miles away, were to compete for the southeastern New England gaming pie. Not much has changed, with Twin River acknowledging little influence from their “buddies” in Plainville, and Plainville continues to add customers to a growing loyalty base – seemingly co-existing. Twin River’s Hotel & the new Tiverton Hotel/Casino aren’t expecting completion until late 2018 or even 2019, which gives Plainridge more time to build its loyal guests.

For a complete list of hotel affiliates around Plainville, click on LOCAL PARTNERS IN PLAINVILLE.

The Bad News…..

Security at Plainridge

This summer season didn’t start out so well for Plainridge Park Casino & Raceway in Plainville, Massachusetts.  On June 1st, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission hit Plainridge Park Casino, the state’s sole slot parlor, with a $65,000 fine over security staffing issues. The commission said the gaming facility was repeatedly non-compliant with minimum security staffing requirements, leading to the civil penalty.

Now the Good News – Plainridge Park Casino enjoyed its best month since its opening in July! 

After its best month in about a year and a half in March, Plainridge Park Casino raked in even more money in April, counting about $14.3 million in what was the slots parlor’s third best month on record, the Gaming Commission announced Monday.  $15.4 million in revenue was taken in surpassing every month of its existence except for it’s first month opening. And except for June, when there was a slight dip, monthly revenue has been strong for the past several months compared to the past. Year-to-date revenue is also up.

Support for Horse Racing

Plainridge Park Harness Racing

While Thoroughbred racing is near its all-time low in Massachusetts, harness racing has experienced something of a revival, in part thanks to the track at Plainridge Park Casino.  The standard-bred track at the slots parlor has seen a $10 million increase in its live handle since 2014 and another $3 million increase from simulcasting, according to the United States Trotting Association. On July 28, the track hosted the Spirit of Massachusetts open trot which was the richest race in Massachusetts standard-bred history.  Together with Hollywood Hotel Casino & Raceway in Bangor, Maine and Plainridge, Penn National is a main contributor in raising the interest in New England’s Horse racing once again.

Plainridge Casino Takes a Pass on Alcohol Change

No free alcohol on the Casino Floor -Plainridge Park Slot Parlor

No free alcohol on the Casino Floor at Plainridge Park. Alcohol sales end at 1:00am, and will not be extended to 4:00am as Wynn Boston Harbor.

Two other casinos in Massachusetts are in the progress of construction – MGM Springfield and Wynn, Boston Harbor, who recently received permission to sell alcohol on the casino floor until 4:00am, longer than anyone in New England.  (For more on this, go to Wynn Boston Harbor Drinking Hours Extended With Opposition) In Plainville, MA., and at Plainridge Park Casino, there doesn’t seem to be much interest in the change.  Current laws allow casinos to serve until 2 a.m. Plainridge, the only casino currently in operation in the state, voluntarily cuts off service at 1 a.m.

Plainridge Study Suggests a Casino Can Lower Unemployment?

BusinessWest.com  reported that “the UMass Donahue Institute released a compilation of results from two years of new employee questionnaires at Plainridge Park Casino. This report is the latest in a series of studies focused on the economic impacts of the gaming industry in the Commonwealth……The findings reveal several important characteristics of new hires at Plainridge Park Casino and the emergent casino workforce in Massachusetts:

  • 50.1% of new hires worked part-time or were unemployed before obtaining their job at Plainridge Park Casino;
  • Major reasons for seeking employment included career advancement, improved pay, and improved benefits;
  • 40.1% of new hires said they needed work due to being unemployed, part-time, or underemployed. 86.2% had no gaming experience prior to their jobs at Plainridge Park Casino;
  • 96.5% of new hires did not transfer from other Penn National Gaming locations, and 92.8% did not move to take their jobs at the casino. Of those who moved, one-quarter originated from cities or towns within Massachusetts; and
  • Nearly three-quarters of respondents come to their job without pre-employment training for their position.

The vast majority of survey respondents are people who are new to the gaming industry and are now being hired for gaming and non-gaming positions at Plainridge Park Casino, including its food-court vendors. Very few workers (only 7%) moved to take their job at Plainridge Park Casino, and those who did were mostly from Massachusetts and Rhode Island. This suggests that most new employees live close enough to commute to their positions at Plainridge Park Casino.”

MGM Springfield Casino Entrance

MGM Springfield Casino Entrance

 

This is good news for Springfield as well. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission as well as the residents of Springfield are hoping MGM is offering a big answer to the high unemployment issue in their city. (see MGMSpringfield Resort Success is Crucial For Springfield)

Plainridge Park – Still On A Roll

After two years of business, Plainridge Park seems to be getting its “sea legs,” walking more sure of itself in New England.  The the MGC’s plan of taking revenue from other states for the good of the Commonwealth, Plainville, Springfield & Boston seems on track.

It’s the next two years that all 10 casinos should be preparing for.  But for now, kudos to Plainridge for continuing to make a name for itself.

Binbin

NETimeGambling.com – Highlights of Last Two Weeks

August has arrived, is it the end of summer?  

Well, let’s take you back a few weeks to the best received posts from the past two weeks, with a gambling riddles intertwined…… courtesy of from http://www.jokes4us.com/dirtyjokes/gamblingjokes.html

SO, HERE’S WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED!

July 20th – MGMSpringfield Resort Success is Crucial For Springfield

A comparison post, MGM Springfield two years ago and the present.

What did the dealer say to the deck of cards? ……..”I can’t deal with you anymore.” 

July 24th – Comped Drink Systems Is a Good Change  

Video Poker Bar

While all the other changes by corporate bean counters has me pulling out the little hair I have left, paying for drinks through play is not so bad in this blogger’s opinion.

What does a BlackJack player eat for dinner…..Whatever his comp card allows him to! 

July 25th – Wynn Boston Harbor Drinking Hours Extended With Opposition

My, My………we have seen the influence of MGM on the Massachusetts legislature and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, now the other casino giant has gotten it’s way through the back door.

Whats the difference between online poker and live poker?…….You can cry after a bad beat online and no one will laugh at you. 

 

 

Aug 1st – Gambling Losing Streaks

7 SUGGESTIONS FOR DEALING WITH LOSING STREAKS

 

 

Finally, a quote from Paul Newman  “If you’re playing a poker game and look around the table and can’t tell who the sucker is, it’s you”

Have a great week!

Binbin

MGMSpringfield Resort Success is Crucial For Springfield

MGM Springfield Casino Entrance

MGM Springfield Casino Entrance

Two years ago, I wrote a similar post to today’s about MGM Springfield.  To compare posts, here it is:

MGM Springfield – Random Thoughts 

I some ways, the project has changed.  All the while, CT & MGM has seemingly been at war over potential revenue & jobs.  So, today, I revisit my opinions and analysis of the MGM Springfield Urban Casino project. 


I want MGM Springfield to succeed……….There, I said it.

Mostly, I want it to bring revenue for an economically needy city, while enhancing the New England Casino landscape, not digging it up. I want it to be beautiful and to enhance the rundown parts of Springfield.

Benefit For a Needy City

Springfield is considered #5 in a list of “Most Dangerous Towns to Live In” by OnlyInYourState.com .  Springfield is the third largest city in Massachusetts – Population: 154,518. Annual crimes per 1,000 residents: 10.39 violent crimes, 45.46 property crimes and 55.85 total reported crimes. “If both property and violent crimes were considered, Springfield would rank #3.”

But I do feel the people of Springfield will benefit with a strong Host Community Agreement.  It  calls for “MGM Resorts to make upfront and advance payments, totaling $15 million to the City of Springfield. The upfront payment will be distributed to the city in installments during the construction phase of the project. When MGM Springfield opens for business, the city will receive in excess of $25 million annually in payments. These monies will be used to enhance public safety, support early childhood education and for general public purposes.” (from the FAQ at MGMSpringfield.com)

Springfield needs the help.  Statistics show that Springfield is in the Top 5 of all Massachusetts towns with: highest divorce rate, highest % of families below the poverty level, highest violent-crime rate, and lowest median family income. (according to WalletHub in “2017’s Best Places to Live in Massachusetts for Families”)

A Great Casino to Visit

I want it to be another casino jewel in New England in southern New England’s Casino Ring as a gambling/tourist destination.  MGM, Wynn, Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, Twin River – all large casinos with hotel amenities providing for vacations & stay-cations alike all in a radius of 120 miles.

Eight casinos inside this radius by 2020.

The original plan video can be seen here. The original plans were impressive, but the hotel tower plans have changed, and the parking garage will be lower by two floors. MGM is also moving the apartments in the opening of the video further away from the casino.  Inside, MGM Springfield looks similar to Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas (Sumerlain), with restaurants outlying the casino, and the essential “Center Bar” made so famous in casino design by the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas long ago.  It has modern looks like MGM’s latest “Aria,” but much brighter.

Will MGM have the same poor to mediocre Video Poker paytables and average gaming rules that are in all their other properties?  The exception is Borgata when they purchased Boyd Gaming’s joint share. They now own one of the best casinos in Atlantic City, as well as the entire country. Keeping the good gambling options at Borgata and similar options at MGM Springfield will be crucial to compete with CT, RI & Wynn Boston Harbor for New England’s gambling revenue.

MGM Operation of MassMutual Center

Mass Mutual Civic Center, Springfield, MA

MGM Springfield and Spectra by Comcast Spectacor, announced a joint bid for the five-year contract to operate the MassMutual Center, a multipurpose arena and convention center, in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts. Under this joint bid, MGM Springfield would serve as the venue management company and Spectra would provide food and beverage services through its Food Services & Hospitality division. Michael Mathis, President and Chief Operating Officer for MGM Springfield said, “….the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) has a prime opportunity to select the best of the best to operate this great facility.”

No Smoking, No Free Booze

In the casino area, will MGM & Wynn be powerful enough to influence a repeal to the “NO Happy Hour” Law in Massachusetts?  Imagine no alcohol freebies on a casino floor owned by MGM & Wynn – blasphemy!  And remember, ALL Massachusetts casinos are to be non-smoking. The options provided for smokers at Plainridge Park in Plainville seem almost punitive.  Massachusetts Casino Law has the entire casino as non-smoking.

MLife Rewards Club of MGM

MLife Rewards Club of MGM

MLife

A key factor in MGM Springfield’s success will be the connection through its rewards club, MLife, providing perks to MGM’s properties from Las Vegas to the east coast. Earning points in Springfield that can be used in Las Vegas & Biloxi (MGM owns Beau Rivage Resort Casino there) is exciting!  Let’s face it, MGM does own some incredible properties.  Imagine earning connections to stay at Bellagio in Las Vegas, as well as attracting Las Vegans to our little corner of the country.  This attraction can only help MGM to help the city of Springfield and the state of Massachusetts with jobs and revenue.

THE BATTLE CONTINUES

I decided to leave the discussion of MGM’s ongoing battle with Connecticut and their 3rd casino on the CT/MA border for another day.  This is about Springfield’s residents and the ability that MGM has in its hands to help the city rise from its ashes.

Now is the time for action to help save the city of Springfield, to focus on the positives that MGM Springfield brings.

As Jean-Luc Picard said in Star Trek Next Generations, I say to MGM concerning the welfare of Springfield, “Make it so!”

Jean-Luc Picard, “Make It So, MGM!”

 

Binbin